View on water
Team: Alex Axinte, Cristi Borcan, Anna Eckenweber, Simina Purcaru.
Wood workshop participants: Matei David, Tudor Elian, Radu Leşevschi, George Marinescu, Maria Daria Oancea, Alin Voitescu.
Guides ‘Down on the river’: Mihai Culescu, Radu Ponta.
Guides ‘Archipelago’: Anna Eckenweber, Tudor Elian, George Marinescu, Simina Purcaru.
Location: in front of National Library
Period: 18 October - 5 November 2012
The event installation View on the Water was initiated by studioBASAR in the framework of the project Plug to Nature. Strategies for re-conquering the urbanity a project initiated by Ivan Patzaichin - Mila 23 Association, developed between 18 October and 5 November in front of National Library of Romania, Bucharest.
Dâmboviţa has gradually lost all the characteristics of a flowing city river, from the domestic water or engine of the local economy to the landmark or city landscape and keeper of urban memory, being today, after regulations, channeling, coverings, demolitions and pouring concrete into it just a technical canal that cuts the city diagonally without really contributing to its life more than a motorcar traffic axis.
Like the signaling sailing flags that hang from ship’s masts, we laid over the turn of the Dâmboviţa river, from one shore to the other three rows of triangles, as a form of maritime signals, but also as a reference to IACEBD fences painted with white and red triangles that were framing the grand demolition sites of 80’s Bucharest.
Written with messages collected on site, the white triangles are marking a temporary harbor, like a question and proposal area for the future and the character of the area, and of Dâmboviţa river, and about our relationship with the water.
For few days, a large team of volunteer architects left their computers at home and got their hands on the saws and on the paintbrushes, worked at heights and transformed cubic meters of wood into public use equipment.
Aiming to inject symbolic mythology into the river, we built on its edge a public structure associated with the water: a Lighthouse.
Raised on a generous promontory, a mysterious leftover made out of bulwarks, platforms and walls at the base of the National Library, the Lighthouse from the turn of the Dâmboviţa river has occupied a rather useless balcony and transformed it into a belvedere pavilion that framed a rare view: a Bucharest sunset, decorated in the background with the House of the People, and with Dâmboviţa river in the foreground zigzagged by plumps of ducks. During the night, the Lighthouse sent its rays into the dark, together with the headlights of the cars and the neon of the commercial signs.
Provoked and preoccupied by the lack of functional logic from the proximity of the access into the Lighthouse, we repaired a pedestrian link between the alleys of the Library and Unirii Boulevard.
We built a wooden platform at the intersection of the informal paths and a fence left from the working site, extending the existing alley, providing it with steps, handrail and resting place, all painted in red, as a section from a pedestrian crossing, a necessary link between the Dâmboviţa and the crossing over the Unirii Boulevard and the old neighborhood that survived demolitions behind the blocks of flats.
Archipelago - Islands for Dâmboviţa
On a Sunday morning, near the Lighthouse on the edge of the water, mixed teams of children and parents built small islands for the big Dâmboviţa: mysterious, with propeller, with sails, or with sweets, dinosaurs, and volcanoes, inhabited by billionaires, small serpents or rare birds.
All islands were launched on the water and we followed them from the bank as they went by. Even the second day, on the walk ‘Down by the River’ we found few beyond Timpuri Noi area.
Down by the River - From the Pond to the Delta
The next day we left early in the morning for a geographical hike through the present and past track of Dâmboviţa river, and in the former-future-lake-now-delta Văcăreşti.
Guided by architect Radu Ponta and landscape designer Mihai Culescu, we wandered on twisted streets, following the tracks of Dâmboviţa’s different old channels, we entered derelict factories, sleeping neighborhoods that still dreams about memories from a city crossed by a green river, until we left the city and we immersed into a habitat of ponds and groves: the delta with metro access, from the margins of Bucharest.