Book: A suitable model for the Romanian Lifestyle
- Author Andrei Răzvan Voinea
- Editor Irina Calotă-Popescu
- PR Coordinator Dana Dolghin
- Historian Mircea Dragomir
- Photos Andrei Mărgulescu
- Photos at book launch Ileana Gabriela Szasz
The book represents Andrei Răzvan Voinea’s PhD thesis, which he defended in November 2017 at the University of Architecture and Town Planning Bucharest. This study investigates the history of lotissements built by The Municipal Company for Affordable Houses, spanning from the early debates that led to the institution’s creation to its dissolution, in 1948. Throughout the study, the author argues that, initially, it had been the prevention measures against the spread of tuberculosis, which determined the design of the semidetached standardised dwellings in lotissements. The reformers intended to distribute them to impoverished workers at minimal prices in order to mitigate the effects of this disease. However, the distribution of houses was eventually hijacked, to favour state officials and workers from state-controlled industries. The intention was to earn their loyalty and reward them and consequently, the building campaign did little to serve its initial purpose. The socialist opposition quickly signalled the wrong direction of the reform in articles and strikes, claiming that the reformers ignored the vulnerable classes, but to no avail. The standardised dwellings in the lotissements improved the conditions at the periphery and changed lodgers’ lives. However, against the background of the exponential population growth (Bucharest tripled its population between 1912 and 1941), it became clear even for the reformers that the construction of lotissements could no longer be sustainable. The situation changed in the late forties and fifties when the communists in power promoted a political platform that insisted on housing for the workers of Bucharest in apartment buildings.
The study also relies on the oral history collected previously. Consequently, we invited all current inhabitants of the houses built by the Municipal Company for Affordable Houses to the launch of the book. The event in the National Theatre in Bucharest saw more than 400 persons attend the event.