Press House, Bucharest
Named Casa Sciintei after the Communist Party's newspaper, the building is now known as "House of the Free Press". A popular nickname during the Communist years was "House of Lies". It was designed to hold the offices of the different newspaper (including foreign ones) which would make it easier for the intelligence service to control them. The building is a typical representative of Social Realism, better known as a "Stalinist Wedding Cake". If you have visited Moscow (e.g.: seven Sisters), Warsaw (Palace of Culture) or Riga (Academy of Science) you know what to expect - though the building in Bucharest is far smaller.
In front of the building, there was a statue of Lenin which was removed after the revolution of 1989/1990. The pedestal is still visible and at the time of my visit, there was some modern sculpture looking like a caterpillar placed on it.
This very impressive building stands at the entrance to the capital and was designed by Horia Maicu and completed in 1956. Not only is this the press convention but also houses the Bucharest Stock Exchange in the southern wing.
A good example of socialist realism architecture in Romania, the House of Free Press is now home to several media and print houses. The House of Free Press was designed by Nicolae Maicu and it took five years to build be built (1952-1957, 1950 according to other sources). It seams that the source of inspiration was the Lomonosov University in Moscow.
1989-1990 brought several changes: in 1989 the name of the building changed into the current one. The old name was Casa Scanteii (“The House of the Spark”), as Scanteia was the name of the paper of the communist party. In 1990, the statue of Stalin which was placed in front of the building was taken down and now lies in the yard of the Mogosoaia Palace.
Its surface is of approximately 280x260m, with a height of 104m (96m without the antenna).
When to visit: if you travel by plane, you will most likely pass by it on your way to downtown. If not, you can visit it after going to the Village Museum, as it is situated at the end of Kisselef Bvd; the building faces one of Bucharest’s monarchical symbols, the Arch of Triumph. For more picturesque photos, take a boat ride on Herastrau Lake or wait for the sunset.
House of Free Press was designed by architect Horia Maicu. The construction took 5 years to complete (between 1952 and 1957). Its original name was Casa Scanteii ("scanteii" means "sparks" and "casa" means "house"). This is the place where the official newspaper of the communist party was printed during the communist years. The paper was called "Scanteia" or "The Spark".
The intent was to also built 2 more additions to the building: one to be used as a theatre and one to serve as a house of the several communist unions. Due to the high cost of the construction, the completion of these 2 more buildings was dropped.
Since the cost of the construction proved to be much higher than anticipated, it is interesting to note that people were forced to donate a certain amount from their monthly salary once the construction started. The money raised this way was used to finish the construction of the building.
Another interesting fact that I learned while attending the Civil Engineering University in Romania and it is worth mentioning: Casa Scanteii (most people refer to the building by its old name even today) was the first building whose construction took in consideration the parameters obtained as a result of calculus for integrity/resistance of the building in case of earthquakes. The norms and formulas used were the same ones used by Italians while Mussolini was in power. These norms proved to be much better than the ones published in 1963 since they were much simpler and they also took in consideration the intensity of the earthquake. The norms published in 1963 were more complex and took in consideration both, the shape of the building and the intensity of the earthquake.
The building is very similar to the Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw, Poland.
Today the building is used as the house of almost all Bucharest's printing presses and newsrooms, with the addition of the Bucharest Stock Exchange in the southern wing.
The Free Press House (1956), located in the Northern part of the city, is the typical sample of Stalinist architecture, resembling the Palace of Culture in Warsaw, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Hotel Ukraina in Moscow. Formerly known as Casa Scanteii (House of the Spark), this building was set at the Northern entrance in the city and played host for all newspapers and other printed media of the communist times. On the marble pedestal in front of it there used to be the statue of Lenin, but it was taken down in 1990 and replaced a couple of years ago with the Romanian and European Union flags, while the statue was dropped near Mogosoaia Palace nowadays.
This very impressive building standing somewhat menacingly at the entrance to the capital, Casa Scanteii (as it is known) was completed in 1956, one year after the strikingly similar Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw, Poland.
An impressive edifice standing somewhat menacingly at the entrance to the capital, Casa Scanteii (as it is known) was completed in 1956, one year after the strikingly similar Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw, Poland. Scanteia was the name of the communist party's newspaper.
Right at the entrance to the capital, theres Press House - I would say strikingly similar Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw, Poland. It hosts almost all of the printing presses and newsrooms with the addition of the Bucharest Stock Exchange in the southern wing.
The view is great from Herastrau park.
No, this is not the Lomonosov Palace in Moscow, but a building in Bucharest, built in keeping with the will of the former communist power, which wanted to imitate as closely as possible the Big Eastern Neighbour. The destiny of the Bucharest Palace has witnessed the reverse condition: it has become the Free Press House, which houses the editorial offices of the most important Romanian publications. The former symbol of the dictatorship has become the bastion of the freedom of opinion.
What a silly name of a square! And there was a Lenin statue on the center of the square, but they remnoved it.