Gârleanu Sitting Room

Bucharest Architecture Annual / 2016 - “Architecture and public space - interventions and actions in the public space” section - Prize.

Coordinators: Alex Axinte, Cristi Borcan

Participants in „Timpuri Noi in Action” Idea Workshop: Andrei Alb, Maria Daria Oancea, Iulia Radion, Andrada Bulai, Cristi Stoian

Volunteers in “Building Gârleanu” Building Workshop: Andrei Suhan, Matei David, Anca Marin, Anca Râpeanu, Cristina Popovici, Luminiţa Cruceanu, Andrei Staicu

„Timpuri Noi in Action” is a project coordinated by studioBASAR within the framework of the project „Urban Spaces in Action”, coordinated by Komunitas Association.

More details about the project:



Students Ideas Workshop

Based on the conclusions of the socio-anthropological report “A Neighbourhood in Bucharest”, we organized a workshop during which several working scenarios for the intervention stage were outlined. Out of these scenarios, we have chosen two situations to be elaborated, and in which the possible partners could ensure a high degree of sustainability after the completion of the actions of the “Spaces in Action project”. Thus, a public cultural institution with an existing network in the neighbourhoods - the Bucharest Metropolitan Library (BML) - and an active group of citizens - “Lacul Tei” Group of Civic Initiative (LTGCI) - established the basis for the two actions. The conclusion of the partnerships resulted in two major directions for the project: the community activation and the presence of culture in the neighbourhoods. Thus, the structures and the actions related to their implementation acted like fuel in the process of consolidation of such partnerships.

“Timpuri Noi in Action”

“Timpuri Noi in Action” was financed by Romanian Order of Architects - Bucharest, in the framework of 2015 Architecture Annual.

During the period 8 - 20 June 2015, we organized, in the premises of “Emil Gârleanu” library, a creative mapping action applied to the users’ community. Such action aimed primarily to come into contact with and ask for the users’ opinion on the functional and spatial options of public space development in the immediate vicinity of the library.

More photos here.



For almost two weeks, a research office, managed by the project team, operated in the premises of the library. An open-ended questionnaire, consisting of 10 questions, and a model used as a basis to collect proposals represented the team’s research instruments.




Mobile Rack

The action extended the functions of the library to the front sidewalk, used as an informal parking space, by building a mobile rack which worked as a necessary signal for the library and for the event. Since it remained under the management of the library after the completion of the action, it will be possible to use the mobile rack in the library’s actions in the exterior public space.



„Neighbourhod Portret” Exhibition

In the second part of the action, we opened an exhibition in the library about Timpuri Noi neighbourhood, exhibiting various moments of the neighbourhood history and day to day life, with historical plans, vintage photographs, residents’ portraits and daily images.


Urban Education Workshop for children

At the end of the action, an urban education workshop took place in the library, during which the children built a model with the neighbourhood’s landmarks, thus becoming aware of the urban environment manifestations.



Gârleanu Sitting Room

Given that the users related to the library being turned into a domestic space, we outlined two scenarios according to which the library functions would be extended towards the exterior, by adding further domestic developments: the “Sitting Room” for the street area, and the “Garden” for the green area. Both triggered most powerful directions expressed by the users: the library’s functional signalling and the opening of the green area. Further to the discussion with BML, we chose to build the “Sitting Room”, since such was the priority and feasible proposal in the context of the “Urban Spaces in Action” project, while the “Garden” would be built subsequently in the context generated by the activation of the back rooms of the library.

As in the case of other events within the project, the procuring of the permit for the structure in front of the library was an unpredictable process. The main reason of the administrative confusion was probably the absence of similar precedents establishing a category likely to be granted the permit by the public administration.




Sitting Room

“Building Gârleanu” Building Workshop

Having obtained all the permits, including the permit from the Owners’ Association of the apartment building where the library is located, we started the works. Part of the structure was prefabricated in the workshop and set up in front of the library, where it was completed with the help of volunteers. Such volunteers joined us further to the call for participation launched, by means of the library’s network, to the residents which left us their contact details during the action in June. Most of the volunteers came from the library’s network, but a local resident also participated. Satisfaction came in the end when, after a day’s work of assembling and painting all the modules, we heard a child, who was returning home with his family, say: “Look, mommy, a library has opened here!”

More photos here.







One week later, the “Sitting Room” was opened with an event for children, organized by BML. Thus, the “Sitting Room” was taken over by the library and was crowded with guests who turned the sidewalk from parking space into a public space, a playground and a meeting place. The parents having participated in the action either knew about the library, or they had participated in previous actions of the project, such as the “Weekend Market” or “Timpuri Noi in Action”, or they were glad that a children and youth branch had opened in their neighbourhood.