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Planning the Socialist Housing District in Bucharest and the Soviet influence, 1947–1960

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This article details some of the processes through which Romanian architectural culture transformed under Soviet influence in the 1950s and through which architects came to redefine the organization of the profession, the planning of the city, and methods of design.The urban housing district (referred to as cvartal) and the rationalization of architectural design through type-solutions (tipizare or typization) were two architectural themes of particular political consequence and thus especially subjected to the pressures of Soviet precedent. The article shows, however, that the Soviet principles and policies brought to bear on the design of architectural types and the planning of the cvartal belonged in large part to a set of generic modernist principles that crossed political lines.The article aims to nuance the negative view of Sovietization as the imposition of entirely foreign concerns: archival sources, publications of the time, and architectural examples show that Soviet models reoriented but continued preexisting Romanian preoccupations with the planning of the modern city. Furthermore, Sovietization was not an isolationist phenomenon that hindered innovation: rather than standing as an obstacle to modernization, Soviet models connected Romania’s architectural culture to international postwar debates on mass housing and new urban forms.

Affiliations: 1: University of San Diego, USA,


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