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December 9, 2022

Bucharest – a capital without well-defined architecture

After 20 years of incoherent decisions Romania has a mutilated capital. Parks have been destroyed, historical buildings have been demolished and cheap kitsch buildings have invaded the boulevards.

The latest fashion in Bucharest consists of buildings ranging from 20 to 300 meters high, each molded on the architectural guidelines of their owner and of the district mayor.

‘Cotidianul’ daily wrote yesterday that the ugly Bucharest had an excuse: communism. However now there is no excuse. Among the negative examples given by the ‘Cotidianul’ daily journalists we mention the Buzesti area, Gara de Nord and even Calea Victoriei, areas bustling with ‘hideous’ buildings, ‘masterpieces of ugliness,’ ‘models of ugliness, stupidity, thirst for money and anti-urbanism in today’s Bucharest.’

And, to make matters worse, the urban area plans (PUZ) filed for approval are growing with each passing day.

Thus, last week their number stood at 29, today it stands at 54, ‘Jurnalul National’ daily writes. At the same time, the PUZ issue was at the heart of a row that erupted in the latest General Council meeting, with the PSD and PNL Council members leaving the room.

According to ‘Jurnalul National,’ the approval of 54 PUZ in a single day is an absolute first. In 2006, 133 urban area plans were approved, while in 2007 the number of approved urban area plans stood at 122. But the haste of approving controversial real-estate projects on a conveyor belt has an explanation: construction works done at the whims of investors are no longer allowed after October 1. Thus, apart from the 29 PUZ that remained unapproved after last week’s meeting, another 25 were included on the agenda. The row was sparked on Friday by Costica Costanda’s project. Costanda asked for the permit to build 8-storey high buildings in the French Village, with only 2-storey high buildings being allowed there. The businessman wants to obtain the PUZ at any cost, in that sense even filing a note through which he threatens to sue the members of the General Council for damages of EUR 17 M plus EUR 11 M in penalties if they refuse to approve his project.

But apart from Costanda’s PUZ, other projects reek of foul play. ‘There is an effort to legalize a building that lacks permits on Primaverii Street, no.55. That is a protected area and the investors have built a 30-storey high building with no permits, with the allowed limit being of 13-storey high buildings,’ Nicusor Dan, the president of the Save Bucharest Association, stated for ‘Jurnalul National.’

A similar situation is registered in the case of the PUZ demanded for the 11 Iunie Street, no.51, in District 4. The building there also lacks legal permits. Apart from all this, the entire projects included on the agenda of yesterday’s meeting lack permits from the Environment Ministry. The 25 new projects included on the agenda are not an exception.

New hospital in Colentina

Next year the Bucharest City Hall will start the construction of a new hospital in the courtyard of the Colentina Hospital, General Mayor Sorin Oprescu announced. The investment, which will include the hospital’s equipments, will stand at approximately EUR 40 M.

‘The feasibility studies are in the process of being completed and in 2010 we will start the construction works. The new hospital will have 7 floors, cardiology and neurology wards, surgery wards, and orthopedic wards. The construction and equipping of the 500-bed hospital will call for EUR 40 M, with the project set to be filed to the General Council for approval this autumn,’ the General Mayor pointed out.

At the same time, the rehabilitation of the Medical Research Institute located within the same courtyard will also start, the project already having EUR 17 M from European funds. Sorin Oprescu also visited the Cantacuzino Hospital yesterday. The City Hall has earmarked RON 9 M for the Cantacuzino Hospital, RON 2.7 M of which has been earmarked for medical equipment.

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Gabriela Bogdan