Overview of the present situation
The Ploiesti-Nord district comprises 10,000 apartments designed by architect Daniel Guj. It was built between 1964 and 1971 as a collective residential area. The mix between modern and old buildings gives the district a specific flavour, like a living memento of the socialist modernist period and its architectural techniques and systematization methods. We consider these buildings to be of great value and we expect authorities to define specific conservation methods and properly enforce them through urban planning regulations. The Ploiesti-Nord district includes the following functions: collective living units (most part of the complex), merchantry and other services (the Small Commercial Complex and the larger Nord Commercial Complex), light industry (textiles – Artisan’s Complex), education (nursery schools), green spaces (Nord Park and the small gardens surrounding the living units). Most of the living units are ranked as high seismic risk and require structural rehabilitation. Since they were built before the great 1977 earthquake, their structure is designed according to old parameters.
The Collective Living Spaces
Designed by architect Daniel Guj in the ‘60s and ‘70s, these buildings have features that add personality to the district. They are 10 storeys high, with blue and green mosaic revetment on the façades. The stairways are beautifully adorned with precast concrete grids. Their problems arise from individual improvements: energetic rehabilitation have changed the fronts of some of the buildings, leaving others intact; satellite dishes have been randomly placed; balconies have been closed using PVC split into irregular subdivisions. All these create stylistic chaos and affect the buildings’ aesthetics and thus, their value.
The Northern Commercial Complex (main complex/extended)
The North Commercial Complex is the main retail venue of the district. Also built in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the ensemble respects the style of modern Romanian architecture: simple volumes, concrete architectural details on the façades – triforium, dark-green ceramic slabs on the façade – a playful arrangement of simple volumes that follow the lines of the backyard. The exposed concrete structure is sustained by very thin, cylindrical metal masts that create a flowy, open space. The Northern Commercial Complex is disfigured by outdoor advertising, trade signs that cover its surface and graffiti on the ceramic slabs. Water infiltrations on the coated fronts caused by degraded roofing, poor conservation of the secondary façades and improvised repairs are other obvious problems. Rehabilitation is required, together with an urban plan to protect the personality of this modernist commercial complex that adds so much to the identity of the district.
The Small Commercial Complex
The secondary commercial complex is also a modernist building from the ‘60s-‘70s, built after the same criteria: simple columns, large glass partitions, a concrete structure with cantilevers placed on a series of cylindrical metal masts that create an airy, open and protected space. With great attention to detail, the specific charm of the building comes from the choice of architectural elements: concrete fretwork design, walls coated with small, round stone, an alternation between closed and open spaces with a great sense of perspective and the whole integration in the green area and in the district itself.
There are numerous problems with the small commercial complex as well: abusive closing of spaces designed for open use; aggressive outdoor advertising placed on the edge of the portico’s attic; air conditioning units that cover the fretwork; adjustments of the coating in different areas, with no visual coherence; coating falling apart; degraded state of the pavement, that lowers the value of the building). The recently renewed interior finish is low quality: crockery, molten mosaic, etc. Also, we consider red a very aggressive choice of color for the game room. Although the portico was intended to be open, it was enclosed with a wooden fence with flower stands – a very inappropriate choice.
The Artisan’s Complex (a textile production company at the moment)
There is a surprising fluidity in the shapes of the Artisan’s Complex building, a fluidity that makes the main façade stand out. The carefully studied curves take us back to the ‘60s. Fortunately, the building is being used in light industry activities (textiles) and this doesn’t involve any aggravating changes. Also, the fact that the building is owned by a single person has saved it from stylistic fragmentation. The simple exterior coatings of the Artisan’s Complex are beautifully adorned with joints of different textures. There is a bit of infiltration in the plinth caused by inadequate paving, but no infiltration in the cover. The façade contrasts with the desolate parking lot of the textile production company.
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