Nicolae Porumbescu: Administrative Palace, Satu Mare, 1972D–1988

  • Satu Mare, Romania, Show on map
  • #COM #Highrise #Eastern Europe
  • Porumbescu’s personal style was explicitly related to Brutalism at the time. He called it “this great movement of rebelliousness, of professional ethics.” He cited, among others, Paul Rudolph and Le Corbusier. “I care very much about the Brutalists,” he declared. The Satu Mare ensemble—with its overstated structural elements, raw heavy materiality, intricate spatial articulations, and pedestrian “streets in the sky”—deserves the Brutalist label. Scratched surfaces reinterpret Le Corbusier’s béton brut or Paul Rudolph’s bush hammering. However, the theatrical effects (textured plaster, chopped-wood shaped beams and other folk-art simulations of constructive elements) go far beyond the mere exaggeration of a Modernistic concrete structure. The self-referential language and the elements of sheer decorativism, and last but not least its nationally specific rhetoric, situates this work at the intersection of Brutalism and Postmodernism. Excerpt from Dana Vais’s article in: SOS Brutalism: A Global Survey. Catalog DAM + Wüstenrot Foundation, Zurich (Park Books) 2017

  • All buildings preserve their original functions and are in relatively good shape today, although they all suffered some unflattering interventions, both on the interior and exterior. The public spaces and some exterior elements of the building themselves are, however, quite degraded.