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Virginia Andreescu Haret – the story of the first woman architect in Romania

publicat in: Uncategorized // Publicata pe 03.09.2018

Throughout history and especially in Romanian society, women had supporting roles in social life. It is rather late, with the beginning of the 20th century that things begin to change and women gain political and social rights. As a result, women had easier access to education and become noticed in artistic, social and even scientific world. Basically, such a context provides a voice for women, a critical moment in the independence of humanit and not only for individuals, which allowed women to grow, develop and have a distinctive voice.


Set against this context, the history confronts us with Virginia Andreescu, Haret by the married name and the one to become the first woman architect in Romania. Her story begins in Bucharest, year 1894, yet the moment when she accessed the "big door" of the Art of making buildings happens in 1919. The niece of painter Ion Andreescu, Virginia could easily embrace painting or sculpture, but her aspirations and desires were much stronger – she wanted to conquer volumes. Thus, after graduating "Mihai Viteazul" High School of Bucharest and driven by her aspirations, on July 6, 1919 she obtained a bachelor's degree from Bucharest's Superior Architectural School, “magna cum laudae” and thus becoming the first woman-architect in Romania.


With her achievements, Maria Virginia Andreescu puts an end to some dogmas that have delayed the acknowledgement of women. Nevertheless, her evolution and desire to learn does not end in 1919. After graduation, Virginia goes to Italy for a two years master study at Belle Arti in Rome. Upon returning to Romania, she takes over already initiated projects while beginning to create her own, which became a "trademark". At the time, a new artistic current in Romania faces a constrasting architecture especially in Bucharest, featuring the harmony of neoclassical, Byzantine or eclectic styles, to which Neo-romanian style is added, which included the popular and religious Romanian architecture, as a symbol targeting National Union of Romania. Virginia develops her talent loyal to the spirit of those times, following the path of architect Ion Mincu and by 1922, her first year of activity, she completes the Cantacuzino block from the corner of Calea Victorie and Frumoasa street. Other projects, working with architect I. Pompilian, include “Tinerimea Romana” block and the building of “Societate Comunala de Locuinte Eftine” from Rosetti Square corner with Hristo Botev Avenue.


In spite of being the first woman architect in Romania, Virginia develops her career with wisdom, surrounded by the best people in the domain. Her horizontal axis are examined, the spaces are quiet, yet vibrating with inviting life. And she continues to maintain the creative spirit and the new character of architecture until the end. She is not tempted by the subhuman expressions of Le Corbusier, who later returns to the roots. With 150 buildings designed and built and member in various university councils, she collaborates with famous architecture magazines and in her last years she develops the History of Bucharest’s National Theatre Building. The technique of this study is detailed, clear and organized, the archive is filled with scripts, drawings and pictures with many descriptions. Following her 40 years of activity, she left us with a legacy of monuments that serve as testimony, even today, of a life devoted entirely to art, in the high profession of architecture.


The architect Maria Virginia Andreescu Haret deserves her place in the Hall of Fame of other Romanian women who transformed domains where women could not even afford to dream. Her architectural works are as diverse as possible, with many stylistic assumptions – from classical works, to the Neo-Romanian style, Art Deco and modern influences and functional school type projects towards the final. This tribute for the first female architect in Romania aims to review her Bucharest works, while keeping alive the memory of an architect who evolved with the Romanian architecture of that time. The "Big Door" opened by Virginia Andreescu Haret was also an opportunity for opening new doors for the women in Romania.

Virginia Andreescu Haret – the story of the first woman architect in Romania
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