Skip to comments.Romanian Court Orders Skyscraper Demolished to Protect Catholic Cathedral
Posted on 02/04/2013 6:10:56 AM PST by NYer
BUCHAREST, Romania — David defeated Goliath, again, last week in Romania’s capital city when an appeals court issued a final ruling in favor of a humble cathedral pitted against a gigantic steel office tower, concluding a seven-year legal and political struggle.
In an unprecedented, definitive decision, the court ordered a 19-story skyscraper demolished and the land restored to its prior condition — a small, city park.
Concurring with several lower court decisions, the judge concluded that the office tower, known as Cathedral Plaza, was illegally constructed without proper permits or authorizations in a brazen gesture that threatened the cathedral’s physical security while limiting the ability of citizens to exercise religious freedom.
“Many people thought the power of money was enough to defeat the power of ideals, the power of law, the power of truth and justice, and primarily, the power of God,” declared Archbishop Ioan Robu, 68, at a Jan. 25 press conference in Bucharest.
Instead, the archbishop said, “Because God exists, his wishes are achieved.”
Entrusted with shepherding the archdiocese since he was named bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1984, Archbishop Robu led a high-profile public campaign to protect the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Thousands of priests and parishioners marched through downtown Bucharest to protest the illegal construction, which began to rise in the air in 2006, just 26 feet from the cathedral’s unreinforced brick walls. Thousands more signed petitions addressed to the government.
Catholic churches around the country hung bold black and red banners on their facades, equating protecting the cathedral with protecting the nation’s cultural values.
The Romanian Orthodox Church, representing 86% of the population, participated in the Catholic Church’s campaign in a quiet working relationship coordinated by the Catholic archbishop, who thanked the Orthodox Church at his press conference.
(Excerpt) Read more at ncregister.com ...
Is a 19 story skyscraper sort of the opposite of a six foot midget?
Good news, for a change!
I see they went for ugly. The building looks like a barcode.
Bulgaria now joins the list of countries that are less hostile to Christianity than the United States.
Bug ugly 19 story skyscraper.
Especially when it is erected, without permits, in one of Europe's most seismic active zones. In 1977, an earthquake in Bucharest caused the death of 1500 people.
I’m going to do it. I’m going to invite flamings. It’s been a while since I’ve been flamed on FR (I’ve moderated a lot).
I think the church is much uglier than the mid-rise (not a skyscraper just like an Ar is not a machine gun). The church is a bad 19th century attempt at Romanesque. What’s with those spindly columns in the pediment. They grow in height but fail to increase in width to remain proportional according to any of the classical orders. The architect clearly didn’t know what he was doing.
On the other hand, the mid-rise represents a fun critique of modernism while representing modernity. The bar code comparison is astute. But far from diminishing its aesthetic charm, that’s what gives it charm. It’s an intriguing interplay transparency and opacity, which also relates it to the cathedral in a way that enhances the cathedral’s value.
I believe this is about Romania, not Bulgaria.
My point was concerning the rule of law, not really aesthetics and yes, Romania not Bulgaria.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess. I’m not a fan of either building shown. You are correct IMHO about the church’s archetechual failings, but I despise the soleless lego block behind it.
Romania - collectively - is sure one stupid country. They couldn’t work all this out BEFORE construction?
I don't think we should be casting stones. I believe the point is that the rule of law as ignored during construction, but was finally upheld.
I believe the first “skyscraper” was 10 stories.
I believe the first “skyscraper” was 10 stories.
Confirmed: The 10-story Home Insurance Building of Chicago, Ill is considered the first “skyscraper,” even though buildings with more storeys existed much earlier, such as in Edinburgh.
True, but a transistor radio used to be considered “small”. In most cities, a 19 story building is hidden by all the “skyscrapers” around it. ;-)
One has to read the article carefully but there is good information on the legal position but note the following and maybe it is a good call:
Archbishop Robu thinks the owners should pay all costs related to demolition, but the court order lays ultimate responsibility at the citys steps and the city says it has no money for such an expensive operation.
It’s same ole crap of getting away with it. I applaud the court—play by the rules, or you are out!
Casting stones? No. I’m casting boulders. All the people involved in this mess are friggin morons. The end result speaks for itself.
And this episode is stupider than our EPA regulations on land use how? Point being that I can think of a hundred stupider things that have occurred in the U.S.
What costs more, a 19 story building or an Alaskan bridge to nowhere? How about the stupidity of monetary easing? The cost of not building the Bakken pipeline? Cash for clunkers? Midnight basketball? Banning >16oz drinks? Banning incandescent light bulbs?
Point being, Romania has no corner on the market.
Finally, if someone builds on your property without your permission, are you an idiot for making them take it down? If so, then "all the people involved" wouldn't qualify as idiots, would they?
“If someone builds on your property without your permission, are you an idiot for making them take it down?”
Yes. If someone builds a 16 story bldg on your property you are worse than an idiot, you are a moron. To let this get to the point where they are now going to do what? Tear it down? Pathetic.
The barcode building was built on land improperly acquired, in violation of the building code, and built without building permits or engineering studies. It's a danger to nearby buildings, including the Cathedral which is heavily attended by worshipers and tourists.
It's suggested in the article that political/financial influence had something to do with this illegal construction.
Relative architectural merit is pretty irrelevant here.
You'll see this in this country, a developer will go into "hurry up" mode to try to get grading and foundations done before the neighbors catch on. But here, we have stop work orders and judges that will enforce them if the county building department won't. Not every country in the world has an independent judiciary or city/county officials.
It speaks well for the archbishop that he was persistent.
And, yes, if somebody builds in violation of an order, they have to tear it down. It's "build at your own risk" if you violate the building code.
You didn't read the article did you? The building was constructed in an illegal method outside of the proper procedures (the Chicago way), and the construction was protested from the very beginning. Only after a long legal battle did they win. How exactly does this qualify as "let it get to this point"?
The party who built the building now has to except the consequences of their actions. They gambled that they would get away with it, and they lost that bet.
This sort of thing goes on in the U.S. on a regular basis, where the well connected construct a building outside of normal zoning laws and then expect it to be approved after the fact, because 'hey, whatchya gonna do?'.
That’s a good point. My response, however, was to a post focusing on aesthetics.
I’m an architect. As such we spend considerable time and brain damage negotiating codes and permits. I have no sympathy for those who get caught circumventing building codes.
I do understand what you're saying - but in the architect's defense, this is a primarily Orthodox country, so he's not used to working in the RC idiom. Sort of like 19th c. Southern vernacular interpretations of the Parthenon. At least that would be my defense. :-)
You sound like the client architects dream of having.
We have always had great relationships with our architects -- the man who designed my parents' first house and his wife are still dear friends of my parents. He's 92, an Austrian who barely escaped the Nazis, great practical designs with a timeless contemporary look.
Unfortunately the gorgeous 1950s vaguely Neutra-ish (but in wood) house that he designed for my folks was wrecked out by a couple with a lot more money than sense, and a SIXTEEN MILLION DOLLAR pseudo-Italianate monstrosity erected in its place.
This is Romania. I’m pretty sure they got transistor radios some time in the late 1990s.
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