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"Restaurarea şi valorificarea durabilă a patrimoniului cultural - Ansamblul Curtii Brâncovenesti de la Potlogi”

Restoration and sustainable utilization of the cultural heritage at the Potlogi Brancoveanu Court Ensemble

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Informaţii despre proiect

24927 mp
40.787.556 lei
Potlogi, Dambovita County, Romania strada Constantin Brancoveanu nr 48

Echipa de proiect

Asocierea intre S.C. PAULUS SRL Ploiesti si S.C. BAUTECH GENERAL. CONSTRUCT SRL Bucuresti


Stadiu incipient

The Brâncoveanu Court Ensemble, located in Potlogi, Dambovita County, was erected by and under Prince Constantin Brancoveanu in 1698 replacing an older Boyar Court ensemble. The complex belongs to the “Brancoveanu” style, a Romanian art current developed between 1678 and 1725 and named after Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu, (b1654-d1714). The Potlogi residential architectural complex, as opposed from the Mogosoaia one – being used only by it’s founder, has a very short existence. It was practically abandoned until World War II, even while the estate was owned by the family and not owner-less. Situated out of the foreign travelers path (those crossing Wallachia after Brancoveanu’s death), the Potlogi complex is not noted by them, except for Antonio Maria del Chiaro, former secretary to the Prince. There is an informational hiatus between the XVIII-th and the XX-th centuries. The first information relevant to the understanding and evaluation of the residential ensemble formed by the Court and its Chapel appear during the first decade of the XX-th century. On October 9, 1910, by a Royal Decree of Carol the 1st, nr. 2.887 (printed in the „Monitorul Oficial nr. 160/1910), „The Brancoveanu Palace ruins in Potlogi, Dambovita County” are being declared a Historic Monument and listed in the „Romanian General Inventory of Historic Monuments”, thus becoming protected under the law. Among the Historic Monuments Commission’s documents of the time one can find a survey of the ensemble authored by Arch. Ion D. Trajanescui: a sketch of the 1910 site plan, floor plan surveys of the basement, ground floor and upper floor as well a building section. Although the site plan sketch is approximate (especially as far as angle accuracy), the different building components of the complex, the surrounding walls as well as the interior ones separating different functionality, the property line as well as the size and location of the complex’s northern pond (adjacent to the palace’s garden) are indicated. The first decade of the XX-th century’s photographs, published in the Historic Monuments Commission’s Bulletin - information recorded and passed on by Virgil Draghiceanu – is fundamental for the understanding of this princely court ensemble. there was silence about Potlogi until 1954. The team of architects Stefan Bals and Radu Udroiu approaches for the first time the main object, the Palace, in an advanced state of decomposition (imminent collapse). Surveys, studies, projects, archaeological research and restoration work are undertaken between 1954 and 1975, continued in 1971-1975 with archeological research, restoration projects and studies centered on the palace, abandoned in 1977 after the Historic Monuments Directorate is dismantled by Ceausescu. Another notable design period occurred between 1997 and 2000 followed by construction work between 2005 and 2006, meagerly funded by the Ministry of Culture. Construction work undertaken in 1972-1977 and 2003-2006, abandoned several times mainly due to lack of financing, ended up being degraded and in need of repair as well as changes in functionality.

Scopul proiectului

As a result of a 2009 architectural competition initiated by the Dambovita County Council, won by our team, we have undertaken the design work for the Potlogi Brancoveanu Complex, financed through the Regional Operational Program POR 2009-2013, Priority Axis 5.1 assigned to historic monuments restoration. The design included the completion of restoration work on the Palace, the Main Entry Gate (ancient Guard quarters), the Old House, the perimeter walls, the partition walls separating the interior courtyards typical in such a Royal Palace, as well as the volumetric reconstruction of some accessory buildings – evidenced by the 1970's and 2010 archeological excavations and the 1904-1905 archive photographs (The Court's Kitchen - Cuhnia, the Servants Quarters – Casa Slujitorilor and the Carriage Storage building – Droscaria). The project also included the design of the Palace's Garden, typical for Royal Courts, known based on written historical information (similar gardens also exist at the Brancoveanu Complex Mogosoaia and other boyar courts). According to the 2000 historic study undertaken by CPPCN, there was not enough accurate historic testimony for a reconstruction project of the Garden that would accurately represent its exact XVII-XVIII century image. Therefore, the design phase proposed a contemporary vision for this Garden, attempting to recreate the atmosphere – if not the details – of a Brancoveanu Court garden. Current witnesses to the garden’s original typology are the decorative plasterwork in Persian style inside the palace: trees, leaves, carnations, bouquets of lilies and daisies, garlands of roses, stalks, developing also on the Palace’s exterior walls or surrounding the Palace’s windows, as well as vegetal motif decorative stonework present on the Palace’s southern tower. The restoration design for the Palace includes interior and exterior artistic components (decorative plasterwork, remnants of color frescoes, carved stone and wood elements) The rebuilding of the old lake (another common feature of Royal Palaces) was not possible due to the presence of a new street, private residential properties and the Tudorelul Creek on its former location.

Descrierea proiectului

The project's most important section was dedicated to the adaptive reuse of the ensemble for cultural functions – mainly as a museum dedicated to Prince Constantin Brancoveanu and his era, plus temporary functions such as cultural event space, temporary exhibitions, art collections exhibit space, auditorium and meeting spaces, chamber music concerts – for both the Palace and the other buildings in the complex. The main Entrance Gate (formerly the guard quarters) (Poarta Principala) contains the main entrance, through a vaulted open space between two rooms. The project turns one of the rooms into an information and ticketing area and the other is dedicated to security and equipment such as audio-video, fire alarm and surveillance for the whole ensemble. “The Old House” (Casa Veche), so named since – according to some – it originally belonged to the landowner from which Constantin Brancoveanu bought the Potlogi estate, is composed at grade level of the cellars access and an adjoining room, at basement level by the vaulted cellars, structurally composed of four semispheric vaults supported central-pillar supported vaults, all in original brick, and a proposed upper level, built out of light reversible construction, designed based on the lack of information about this upper level’s original design. The upper floor will host a medieval and Brancoveanu era documentation center – in effect a small library. The lower level will host events, meetings, temporary exhibitions, etc. The main courtyard areas were researched during the archaeological campaigns of 1970-1972. The result was the discovery of masonry foundations for the remainder of buildings on the ensemble’s perimeter: the Royal Court’s kitchen (Cuhnia) – adjacent to the perimeter’s Southern wall – to the right of the Main Entrance Gate, demolished in 1905; other accessory buildings named by previous researchers as follows: The Servants House, adjacent to the Eastern perimeter wall, Droscaria (the carriage storage building) –located to the left of the Main Entrance Gate, next to the Southern perimeter wall, as well as the walls located inside the perimeter – separating the royal courtyards in functionally-different areas. Remnants were observed and marked in 1970-1975 by raising these walls with approximately 50cm of brick above then current grade level. Our project integrates older ideas, proposing the reconstruction of these accessory buildings for the purpose of creating a more “complete” image of the ensemble, without claiming these buildings as proper reconstructions or restorations but only as volumetric indications – credible recreations – deducted based on original elements which are being highlighted and new elements constructed with contemporary technology and materials. Such an approach is the one recommended by all current UNESCO and ICOMOS documents and is being employed for nationally or internationally important historic monuments ensembles that require differentiated treatment of original elements and reversible hypothesis, presented as such in the project. The Servants House (Casa Slujitorilor) was treated in our project in the spirit of houses with porches that exist in Potlogi today and also as references to possibly having had the same appearance in the past, according to some documents. The proposed functions are quite similar to the original ones: for staff accommodation and for technical annexes as well as for employee lodging and equipped with traditional rural dwelling interior artifacts.. Among the components of the court, gone with time and proposed to be remade as part of the Brancoveanu's ensemble, “Cuhnia” (a kitchen with oven) is the only accessory building for which a known image exists - (see photos of the ruin, CMI image Tzigara Samurcaş), not quite telling but where only the outline is visible, an image of the external side of the vaulted central room and of the main chimney . Traces of the smaller four chimneys on each of the corners are visible in the photograph from 1904 of the ruin of Potlogi Kitchen (Cuhnia). That lead us to assume that the spatial composition of Potlogi's Kitchen was very similar to that at Mogosoaia's royal court. According to some authors, Potlogi's Kitchen, being built earlier (1698), served as the model for the Mogosoaia Kitchen (1702), the latter one exceeding the model through expression and proportions. These elements have allowed us the reconstruction of the Kitchen at Potlogi with similar outline and proportions but using contemporary building materials. Some remains of the base of the Kitchen's main brick vaults were visible on the oven hall's Southern wall and were maintained as original “witness” elements at the start of the new exposed concrete vaults, similar in size and shape with the original ones. The functionality for this building as per our project is to use the space of the oven room for culinary events - in order to remember the original function as kitchen for Brancoveanu's Royal Court. Another component existing at the time of Constantine Brancoveanu, Droscaria (the Carriage Storage building) is proposed to be reconstructed as well. It has two floors: the ground floor (at the enclosure level) will be used for exhibitions of lapidarium type, located in the arched portico. In this portico we kept the traces of the original elements: the foundations of portico pillars and the base of the first building's arcade - adjacent to the southern enclosure wall. At the same level, inside the building, toward the arched portico, we have provided an exhibition with all functional and social annexes. By the household yard we provided technical and administrative areas. The attic was dedicated to a restoration lab for art objects and artist workshops. The equipment and furniture necessary for functions assigned to every object of the project were included in the project budget . Specific equipment for a modern museum proposed to be located in this monument of national value is provided in the budget (audio video systems, fire and burglar alarm systems, etc). Both the indoor and outdoor furniture were not part of the project and were aquired separately by the owner. All necessary facilities and equipment were planned for the entire ensemble as well as for each individual building. The heating was provided in a decentralized system, for each building a small gas fired forced exhaust heating unit. Geothermal energy HVAC systems were provided for the Servants Quarters ( Casa Slujitorilor) and for the Kitchen. Solar water heating equipment was proposed for the Carriage Storage building (Droscaria). Offstreet parking located in the interior courtyard is provided for a minimum number of vehicles used for the transportation of the exhibits, supplies and materials and for staff. The required number of visitor parking spots were located outside the enclosure in order to minimize damage to the monument's image. The design for the permitting phase (DALI) happened in 2009, the Technical Project and Construction Details Phase in 2010 and construction between 2011 and 2016. Construction Administration services were provided and managed only in part to correct on site the inevitable issues that appeared due to the limited amount of historic monuments renovation experience by the contractors.


The novelty of the our project proposals is that we tried to find actual functions, but expressed in volumes as disappeared buildings existing before inside of Potlogi Royal court, volumes resulted from old photos, or similar to other known ensembles, appropriate to these. We had a brilliant example of integration of the functionality and of a new building – at the Brancoveanu's court ensemble at Mogosoaia, designed by G.M. Cantacuzino, on the location of previous annexes. Part of the Urban Planning project for the Potlogi Protected Built Area that we also prepared we issued a number of proposals meant to preserve and functionally enhance the complex of Brancoveanu Courts: . urban planning regulation and outlining of the restricted protected area for the Brancoveanu Court ensemble, along all parcels on both sides of the surrounding streets; . relocating the soccer field from its current location adjacent to the ensemble and turning that area into a park; . proposing locations for tourist services for visitors in areas close to the ensemble while avoiding visual interference; . elimination of some of the buildings and aerial telephone and electrical wiring adjacent to the monument or in the central square, which affects the whole perception of ensemble from the outside or from the inside.

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