The monument and the copy, Românești Church

An absurd scenario – the construction of a new church over a 19th-century monument – has transformed the village church into an open construction site for the past 10 years, preserving a dysfunctional liturgical space, an architectural monument in a state of continuous degradation and a community waiting for a representative setting. The new church is itself a partial copy of place of worship built in the 1930s by the architect Dimitrie Ionescu Berechet in Bucharest.

An attempt of reconciling conflicting and uncertain scenarios is made by proposing a feasible solution for the integration of the monument and the new construction, which takes into account the efforts and needs of the current community.

The project treats the interspace as a resource-space for the reintegration of the two churches, together with a series of micro-interventions that restore the sense of the architectural elements of the monument, defining a spatial sequence that leaves the stages of construction and remaining valuable elements visible to the visitor. Thus the access to the new chorus and balconies is achieved by two stairs placed between the two churches starting from the windows of the side apses. The new space is completed on the west facade with a community library and two interior balconies that reconfigure the relationship of exterior windows with interior space.

A new porch is added to the main facade, supported by the new church in two points and makes visible the painting of the main facade, above which are placed a series of artefacts that enrich the liturgical experience and recover the meaning of the objects (the bell, the bulb cross above the altar, the cross over the bell tower, etc.)

A new chapel is located in the transverse axis, above which the tower dome of the monument church is relocated and a long, narrow annex that houses the trapeze, the archive, the library but also the exhibition spaces for objects, artifacts and paintings complete the existing assembly.

The facade towards the cemetery (south) of the new church is unveiled to allow the restoration / visualization of the old church façade with all its elements. The tympanum wall that closes the church on the west façade is treated with fretwork through which the bell tower shape (demolished following the existing site) is perceived.

Phase: Building application – Church rehabilitation

Client: Parish of Românești

Location: Românești, Romania


April 2019