IFLA Europe General Assembly and conference 2017 will take place in Bucharest, Romania, 1-4 June 2017
Draft Agenda of 2017 IFLA Europe Conference and General Assembly
Bucharest is a city often described as an “in-between orient and occident”. And so it might be considered, as it is a European city with an un-usual structure for both space and building traditions. The Bucharest landscape is dominated by collage, by strange juxtapositions of striking modernity, bucolic tradition (king of rural bourgeois space), concrete totalitarian cuts, sub-urban half improvised neighbourhoods and Parisian ersatz. Its tissue is an amazing outcome of a, already traditional, “cut-and-run” urban politic. It is a hard-to-see city, hidden for the inpatient tourist’s eye and who needs tender and long strolling to reveal its soul.
Its huge patched body it’s scattered by green spots. Some of them are parks “à la française”, some of them are “communist-modern” parks, lot of derelict areas full of mystery and, most of them, cosy private gardens filtered by more or less indiscreet fences. This green structure is also a result of mixing logics. While the old core of the city full of little courts and gardens came from the historical development of a rather oriental city, the main parks are a result of 19’s Century French model both from spatial logic and design point of view. The flatness of his site is crossed by two watercourses. The first is the very central Dambovita, which became, in her long history, from a wild branched and full of vitality river, a sordid canal in concrete with dirty brown water. In the North side Colentina had a different destiny as her muddy water was transformed in the ‘30s in a lakes chain which structure a green urban flow.
Today, this rich urban landscape seems to be threatened by a blind passion for commercial architecture that slowly covers what rests for the old beautiful Bucharest. Urban politics seems to ignore (except theories and discourses) all idea of landscape, patrimony or beauty. The logic at work is one of (too) late modernism, recalling all huge western mistakes of the ‘50s or ‘60s. Narrow functionalism is still on and green space is considered as space and money-consumptive urban function and non-profitable in a city that seeks to show its “western nerve”. But people begin to regain the public space, to use and transform it. The Bucharest chance seems to be more in the vital vernacularism than in the rigid old-fashion planning, at least for the moment …