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Centru cultural și aulă - Universitatea Politehnică București

Cultural centre and auditorium - The Politehnica University, Bucharest

Proiect înscris de

Adrian Spirescu
Carpați Proiect

Informaţii despre proiect

București Universitatea Politehnică, București

Echipa de proiect

Carpați Proiect
Universitatea Politehnică, București
arh. Adrian Spirescu

- Marina Raicopol - arhitectură
- Lucia Mîț - arhitectură
- Cosmin Popa - arhitectură
- Ruxandra Iordan - arhitectură
- Cristian Prisecaru - arhitectură
- Daniela Cehan - arhitectură
- Adrian Ioniță - arhitectură

Stadiu incipient

The Politechnica's Campus is one of the largest and also one of the least known urban operations in Bucharest. It has the huge advantage of not being at the periphery, but in the city, and is bordered by important boulevards and large neighbourhoods. At the same time, however, it is a place one goes only for business, as a student, professor, a member of the administrative staff. As such, it remains an enclave, a kind of city-within-a-city. And it's a shame, since we're talking of one of the few coherent, and at the same time, pleasant, urban areas in the city. The team led by Professor Octav Doicescu designed the development following a combination of classical and functionalist principles. A mostly rectangular grid of driving, walking, and mixed alleys organize a generous ensemble of green spaces, where constructions float. Yet these free-standing buildings remain aligned to the streets or, as is the case of the dominant piece—the Rectorate, they close the main axes. One can regard the Politehnica district both as a collection of autonomous objects in a large garden, or as an urban fabric of streets, plazas, and (it’s true, quite porous) fronts. The architecture of the buildings from the first period expresses the same spirit of modernized Classicism or classicized Modernism: simple volumes, rhythms dictated by structure or by vertical and horizontal brise-soleils, brick for the large full surfaces. The obsessive order is interrupted and softened by lyrical accents: light wells, staircases, and, as a piece of resistance, the Rectorate dome, a UFO landed right on top of the main building's cube. Interior spaces are beautiful and sometimes even magnificent— it's where proportions and light best do their job. Not all the details have—physically and aesthetically—aged just as well, and the excess of elements and articulations sometimes leads to a rather too baroque feeling for today's perception; despite all this, the urban and architectural quality of the Polytechnic building in the ‘60s and ‘70s (not the one after 1990) generates a context where it is no easy feat to intervene.

Scopul proiectului

The new centre is not a large amphitheatre with some additional functions, or a ceremony hall, although classes and ceremonies can very well be held there. The Polytechnic has wished for an addition to technical education, through a place dedicated to humanistic culture—a centre for music, theatre, the visual arts; the high-capacity hall (1.200 places) was not supposed, however, to address the campus, but the city as well, which is currently in a chronic people of Bucharest, but also to contribute to the welfare of the city. The chosen place for this centre is a strategic one: along the main axis, between the central library and the Faculty of Entrepreneurship, close to the large plaza in front of the Rectorate. The library is one of the post-Socialist insertions, a heavy, rebarbative building.

Descrierea proiectului

The building of the cultural centre is not aligned to the library. By the general withdrawal and the canting of the main facade, it opens the view to the Rectorate and to the Faculty of Entrepreneurship and leaves room for a public space towards the main alley. Behind the construction, another empty space will serve as a parking. The building is only aligned to the campus’ grating on one of the sides, the one towards the library. The stronger connection to the latter was, indeed, one of the project’s important elements. Up to a certain point, there was also the idea of a gangway between the two buildings, but it was removed out of budget-related reasons. The proximity and the orientation of several windows towards the library remained—a rather symbolic connection between two cultural buildings. Further on, however, we reinterpreted the positioning and the ambiguity between the object and the fabric that shapes the other buildings in the campus. Here, the building really is an autonomous object, a polyhedron placed on a free and public ground. On the one hand, I found that such a particular volume would have needed a bit more space around it. On the other, the departure from alignments and the reduction of the perimeter suggests one's possibility of strolling around it, as well as a more dynamic and more powerful connection between the esplanade and the west side of the campus. Another advantage lies in the integration of the various spaces and surfaces, and in creating a public landscape. The new square (whose centrepiece is a fountain overlooking the cultural centre) climbs, through a package of monumental steps, to the main entrance, but is also moving slightly towards the underground floor, thus opening the cafeteria on this level to the light and to the public space of the campus. The flower boxes in the square, the fountain, the mineral surfaces, the main stairs, the green spaces, or the tiers to the cafeteria, define particular places within this newly-created public space. The landscape continues inside, where the hallway, the reception, the resting areas and the stairs leading to the upstairs foyer, to the downstairs basement, or to another intermediary downstairs level, to the wardrobe and to the toilets, compose a single flowing space, articulated by structural elements or by openings allowing a new series of visual connections. The apertures are few (full spaces prevail, as it also happens in most older buildings in the campus), and rather large. Their placement and build support the interior space, alternating areas of bright light and those almost covered in shade. At the same time, windows are either devices turned towards certain key-views—the Rectorate, for instance, but also towards other neighbouring buildings, or continuous surfaces attenuating the difference between the outside and the inside (as is the case of the main access hallway). The building's spatial, structural, and symbolic nucleus is the concrete cylinder which hosts the hall. The structure of the walls and ceilings around the ring are hanging from it. The inside of the hall is mostly determined by the aesthetic and functional integration of the requirements concerning acoustics, visibility, evacuations, flexibility. The theme was very ambitious: the hall will have to host both conferences, trainings, movies and projections of all kinds, and theatre shows and classical concerts. The walls consist therefore of a series of sound-dispersing surfaces. Part of the panels are mobile, one side being treated for reflection, the other, for absorption. The same dispersing role is also borne by the complex structure of the ceiling, with autonomous elements suspended beneath a metal structure which remains partly visible and, when the skylights are not closed, which allows daylight into the hall. The simple cylindrical space is articulated and fragmented by an accumulation of rhythmic surfaces, product of the negotiation between the acoustic study and the architectural design.


We think that the unity of materials and colours was more important than variety (which is a very good thing). At the inside, the cylinder's concrete remains apparent, expressed just as sincerely as the hall’s wood flooring. The metal structure is partly visible but is painted in the same white as the walls. Part of the installations also appear in some parts. We appreciate the rougher parts of the interior image, which might be considered as a reference to the University's technologic spirit. With the major exception of the already-mentioned wood flooring, floors are treated as a large unitary surface, connecting the various spaces and also some of the built-in furniture. On the outside, the volume's white coating is interrupted by several small-sized incisions. They leave a glimpse of what lies beneath the continuous coating – metal panels and structure. The colour of these fragments is a bright red, the same as the interior surfaces in the walking areas. We are quite anxious to see how the cultural centre will be accepted and used by the academic community and by the city. The square at the front, which animates the public space in the campus, will almost certainly be a success. The architecture has a remarkable potential in itself. Let’s hope that, contrary to what is going on with most public cultural institutions, a wise management and an openness to multi-type culture will lead to an adequate usage of a rather good place.

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