Architecture and Revolution: Contemporary Perspectives on Central and Eastern Europe

By Neil Leach | Go to book overview

17

Utopia 1988, Romania; Post-Utopia 1995, Romania

Dorin Stefan


Utopia 1988, Romania

Free meditation in front of the closed gates of the town.

I was dreaming that I had to reach the north entry of the town before the sound of the third stroke of the bell had faded in the four winds. To reach my place across on the southern side of town, I would have to make it by the first stroke of the bell, so that I could find shelter by the end of the third stroke. But somehow I became distracted, and found myself outside the walls, facing the closed gate. There, inside the citadel, in the very centre, a stone statue with its insignia was being erected. I had long since moved from the centre, and found a place by the walls. Now I was back by the wall, but on the wrong side. If I walked around the outside of the walls I could come to within a stone's throw of my place within the citadel. Standing by the wall I wondered which was in fact the 'other side' of the wall. Could it be the one in front of me as I stood there, or was it that one on the inside which I would normally face? As I looked at it now, the wall appeared to have two 'other sides'. Before I used to look towards the centre, and my view would be obstructed by the stone statue-the in-sign-ia (symbol of power). Now, as I looked into the distance, I seemed to discover 'the sun, the space and the green'. Seen from the outside the wall was transparent. I could see the square full of people again, the stone statue removed. Then the wall became a mirror reflecting the horizon.

The horizon. Yes, I remember, 'the horizon must be recaptured'. It is in this once-the-people's-square that I used to have my place. It is here that my friends and I practised architecture out of our love of the people. Now that my architecture is disliked in the square-of-the-stone-statue, and-as a consequence-I have left the citadel to practise my profession outside the walls; now that I have been excluded from the citadel, as I face the closed gates, I stand pondering my calling.

Architecture, I believe, is half spatial and half social. However-without rejecting this principle-I have started to ask myself just in what sense social and to what extent spatial, now that the-once-the-people's-square is occupied by the statue.

-196-

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