Evicting the Ghost

Bucharest Architecture Annual / 2011 - Best Architecture Book Award.


Authors: Alex Axinte and Cristi Borcan
Legal consultant: Sofia Mihailescu
Evicting the Ghost. Architectures of Survival.
Editorial Concept:
Alina Şerban
Livia Andreea Ivanovici
Texts by:
Ole Bouman, Cătălin Berescu, Liviu Chelcea, Yona Friedman, Ştefan Ghenciulescu, Iulia Modiga, Damiana Oţoiu, Doina Petrescu, Lavinia Stan, Kai Vöckler, Filippo M. Zerilli & Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss
Alistair Ian Blyth, Irina Creangă, Claudia Rada, Alina Şerban
Carla Albert, Alistair Ian Blyth, Irina Creangă, Sofia Mihăilescu, Roxana Szel
Cătălin Rulea
Published by:
Center for Visual Introspection/ pepluspatru Association
The book was published with the support of the Administrației Fondului Cultural Național and The Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation.
The editor would like to thank for the support from: The Kingdom of the Netherlands
Simetria, Arhitectura, Arhitext.


fotografiepresa_basar1p1p2p3p5p4In the autumn of 2006, walking down the street, we passed by a compact volume of furniture wrapped in blue foil. We had seen such makeshift structures put up in the street by the evicted families before, but we had not paid them more than just a mechanical, almost indifferent, attention, with which we generally take in all the anomalies of the Romanian public space to the point that they become almost invisible. When we found ourselves in the narrow space between the sidewalk package and the house facade, we heard several voices and a clink of spoons and plates; we were passing by a family who was having lunch inside the blue parcel. We realized that the structure was actually a dwelling, and its occupants were not homeless persons in the strict sense of that word, but homeless families who lived on the sidewalk and owned tableware, furniture and apartment plants. (studioBASAR)

1864, 1923 - private propriety rights


1950 - nationalization


1990-1995 - privatization and restitution

interioref-332000-2010 - the eviction

interioref-35The book Evicting the Ghost. Architectures of Survival examines a specific phenomenon of recent Romanian social history: nationalization, retrocession, eviction. The study presents the multifaceted reality of forced evictions and includes information about the legislative history of these evictions, the uncertain status of private property owners in Romania over the last one and a half centuries, the stages of eviction, the stories of a number of families subjected to these measures and a typology of the dwelling places developed by those evicted, expressions of nowadays urban survival.

The case studies are presented in the form of an archive, but they can be seen as dioramas of the conflicts and disturbances suffered by post-1989 Romanian Society. Approached with the distance characteristic of a scientific atlas book, the research highlights the fight for survival, played here against the setting of a contemporary city and the precarious balance between the institutionalized discourse of the rule of law and the present condition of the individual.









The publication is available at Cărtureşti and English Bookstores in Bucharest and can be ordered on-line at: