Matei Basarab National College
Matei Basarab High School was first mentioned in 1859, at which point the existing C-shaped building consisted of a ground floor and one upper level. The building’s placement in relation to the alignment foresaw the urban renewal plan of Matei Basarab street in 1932. In the interwar period, the high school was subject to a series of modernisation and extension projects, such as the addition of two new buildings on the plot: the dormitory, in 1921 and the principal’s house, in 1932. Between 1923 and 1928 there were several extensions: the second story, the western wing designated for the administrative body, and the subsequent festivities and gym halls. In the postwar period, the building received roof modifications, the sloping roof being replaced by a terrace.
The construction follows the layout principles of Neoclassical French palaces. The symmetry of the volumes that surround the court of honor and the axial layout of the entrances and alleyways are evident. The representative area is generated by a setback of the two lateral wings from the alignment and by a subsequent setback of the central volume.
The position of the current building on the plot and the H-shaped plan create a yard towards the street, an inner courtyard and several lateral others towards the dormitory and the old principal’s house. The layout is hierarchical, with the hallway on the inner courtyard’s perimeter, and the main spaces, classrooms and the administrative and teachers’ spaces placed alongside the main facades.
Towards the street, the facades assume the same neoclassical style through its clear registers that define the levels and their decorations. The western façade is interrupted by the juxtaposition of the festivities and gym halls. The monumental image of the main building contrasts with the Neo-Romanian architecture of the time that can be identified in the dormitory building. The style is evident in its decorative girdle and arches and small columns that mark the two entrances.
Matei Basarab High School was one of the tools implemented to modernize the city and is one of the first undergraduate educational buildings in Bucharest. It is a replica of the Academic style, which characterized a significant part of 19th century schools, and which stands out through its volumetric sobriety and compositional rigor.
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TEAM: Amanda Bușe, Amalia Nedelcu, Claudiu Zidărescu