Proposed situation. Existing situation

Ploiești Civic Centre: scale model of facts and events

Team: Alex Axinte, Cristi Borcan (studioBASAR), Cristian Stoian.

The installation „Proposed Situation. Existing Situation” was part in the group exhibition „The factory of facts and other (untold) stories”, curated by Alina Şerban, Salonul de Proiecte, 21st September - 30th October 2016.


Artists: studioBASAR, Matei Bejenaru, Nicu Ilfoveanu, Șerban Savu
Curator: Alina Șerban
Exhibition design: skaarchitects
Graphic identity: Radu Manelici

Damaged successively by earthquakes and bombing, the centre of Ploiești was the first in a series of systematisation programmes that radically changed the face of Romania’s cities from the 1950s onward. Through a process of accumulation of multiple representative functions, the civic centre expanded adjacent to the axis of the through road from Bucharest to Brașov, becoming “a vast space, avoiding the rigidity of any particular geometric form” (Paul D. Popescu, City Guide. Ploiești, Editura Sport-Turism, 1985).

Ploieşti, Civic Centre - archive image, courtesy of: Photo Archive of the Union of Architects in Romania.

Beyond its urban form, this vast space is in fact a complex, fragmented territory, resulting from accumulations of everyday facts and events. The habits collected in the perimeter of the civic centre are some common practices extracted from the affective map of the city’s inhabitants starting with 1990, when the imaginable scale model of Ploieşti stopped. Thus, the manifestations of the existing situation are developed alongside with the stories of the mechanics of representation of the proposed situation, which share the same ingredients and co-exist on the same territory.



©Ștefan Sava. Courtesy of Salonul de proiecte and the artists

The installation consists of a module of 1X1,8m of Ploiesti city urban planning model realized between 1988-1989 at the “Design Institute of Prahova County” (IPPH, today Consproiect S.A.). Following a process of research and documentation on the ground, the original model was extended with metal bars and print on forex that accommodating a collection of facts and events: 18 stories with everyday uses of the Civic Centre and 4 stories about the making of Ploiesti’s model.

At the chess players
In an atmosphere of Sunday rest, when times seems frozen, with football live on the radio, men gather in groups under a few wooden pavilions. Leaning on the fence or sitting on concrete cubes, they play chess against the table champion or comment on the games. Amid the comments in low voices, the clink of backgammon pieces and the slap of cards can be heard at the mosaic tables.


In the sun, surrounded by tiles, flagstones and cobbles, the fountain has always been an irresistible place for kids, dogs and cameras. In the middle of a rather dull park, the water spouts from four brown spheres and other side sources, filling three circular basins paved with yellow travertine, which in summer becomes a place for play, paddling, or a background for family, wedding or group photos.


Urban planning model
During the planning process, one of the instruments often used by planners and especially by the political leaders of the time was the model which represented on a smaller scale a simplified urban form, easy to grasp and tempting to reorganise. The model of Ploieşti, realized in ‘88-’89 and exhibited in the Culture Palace, was trampled on by inhabitants desperate to find out whether their homes were going to be demolished.