After a visit in 1854, American military doctor Oscar James Noyes wrote in a book about Bucharest : “I’ve never seen the lack of luxury, beauty and ugliness, pride and poverty put in such a striking contrast”. Notes of foreign travelers in Bucharest in that period describe it as a city of contrasts.
This characteristic feature of Bucharest is still noticeable today. Bucharest’s urban landscape is defined by contrasts, through its inappropriate juxtapositions, lack of rules and striking differences. Throughout time, palaces and mansions have been built amid slums. Then, residential blocks appeared in the villas neighborhoods. Old churches were hidden by blocks during communist times. One of the largest building in the world, named “the People’s Palace”, was built over and after an entire inhabited neighborhood was demolished.
In Bucharest, contrasts can be found everywhere, in architecture, people, attitudes, public spaces, all of these contributing to it’s identity. The challenge is to analyze, study and interact with these contrasting aspects of Bucharest. This way your designs will either become solutions to different urban problems or if you get inspired by them, the challenge is to approach your designs from an artistic point of view.