Thursday, October 11, 2007







Concrete Transylvania.


I suppose we spoilt Western European tourists when visiting former Iron Curtain territories can't help looking out for bleak architectural remainders of the 20th Century Communist era. I knew President Ceausescu enjoyed deliberately erecting ugly utilitarian factories next to historical Romanian sites and had no qualms about bulldozing churches and houses to make way for his immense neo-classical palace in Bucharest.
Here are three examples of appealing Socialist Modernism, all from the town of Brasov.




2 comments:

bobby said...

Love that top one, it's so... so... soviet... (dig that Van Halenesque logo too!) The other two bear a striking similarity to a lot of the architecture round here - which I guess proves that the commies weren't the only subscribers to the concrete brutalist movement...

I recall being in Zagreb many moons ago (pre Eastern Bloc disintegration) and being told we were staying at the Hotel Industria - how that conjured up images of ice cold rooms and communal showers in a vast pre-war complex overseen by Stalinist bureaucrats... Funeral In Berlin, Gorky Park, you get the idea. How disappointed we were when we got there and discovered it was just another generic Holiday Inn...

John Bagnall said...

Hmm...I wondered why that "V" logo was so familiar!

Yes the Hotel Industria name is just perfect. The second side of Bowie's Low LP springs to mind as a soundtrack to staring out of its imagined windows at miles of functional tower blocks and maybe some falling snow under street lighting.

Mind you, I also had a depressing generic Holiday-Inn type experience on this trip's final night at a hotel on the unattractive outskirts of Bucharest. Every aspect of my one night stay seemed to demand written customer feedback, from the cleanliness of the toilets to the service at the bar. Both myself and the nervous staff seemed to be mere numbers in an on-going company survey. This was bleak, but not in the romantic/nostalgic Soviet sense we were talking about. I couldn't help thinking of TV's sharply observed Alan Partridge Travel Tavern episodes...