Rebirth of Identity

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


The reality of communism was not and is not the efficient equality for all described by Karl Marx. Communism was distorted by human nature to create a powerful and oppressive tyranny by which many suffered in Eastern Europe. Architecture was and remains one of the primary ways to display power. It can oppress the masses by raising fear and suspicion from the governing as well as from the governed. In the mid 60's Romania gained autonomy from Russia and began to practice its own form of communism. The power of propaganda remained, creative individualism perished, and the commune prevailed. The private domicile was assigned to the individual based on the number of family members. But in reality the quality of one's home was purely based on ties to the communist party. Most people had to give up old family homes and move in "bloc" system apartment buildings. These structures were built on a grid with the efficiency of a machine. Expanded within the grid were the cells of private life. Effort was not given to comfort or individuality. Although these structures have a resemblance to the projects of New York there is a certain nostalgia for these concrete neighborhoods. They represent a time when people were drawn together against the greater evil and a time when children took first steps. It was also a time of invisible resources such as food and heat, yet Bucharest would be a different city without these neighborhoods. The banishment of individuality in public and private life created a social change in Romanian culture. Whether it became an underground affair to express individuality, spirituality, homosexuality or whether its suppression abolished certain traits in the Romanian people is of great interest to me. I would like to focus on one neighborhood in Bucharest, Romania which is comprised of the communist style apartment buildings in order to figure out what course of action would be most suitable for bringing back the sense of pride and identity in peoples' living spaces. Should the buildings be renovated, destroyed or would a community center be more effective?




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