Dec 202006

Versiune în română

The Christmas decorations in downtown Bucharest come in blue, white and yellow this year. Especially blue. First time I saw them I asked – without giving it much thought – why did they use blue? Christmas is supposed to be red and green. Last year the lights were mostly white and two years ago they were also white and blue. Is the city hall fixated on white and blue? My brother told me the lights are celebrating Romania’s entry into EU which will take place January 1, 2007. Duh. This year they have a reason for the blue 🙂 Afterwards I noticed that the decorations lining Magheru Boulevard, between Universitate Square and Romană Square, even display a round circle made of stars that has been the mark of the EU for so many years.

Yes, it’s true. Romania will join the EU starting January 1, 2007. It’s not my place to say if we’re ready for this step or not. Others have done it for me and the subject has been debated in great detail. From my part I hope that joining the EU will bring more political stability for my country, the pressure to accelerate the reforms, a raise in foreign investments and hopefully some curbing of the corruption that has engulfed Romania since the fall of the communism in 1989. I realize that these are all long term goals and that we might not see any changes for many years other than an increase in the freedom to travel and maybe an easiness in doing commerce. I guess the end goal – aside from political stability which to me will be the greatest achievement – will be economic growth for Romania and with it a raise in the standard of living of the population.

This year’s decoration

Last year

Two years ago

Dec 072006

Versiune în română

Following a link from an architecture forum I found this article on Forbes about the world’s ugliest buildings. The article talks about how the list was conceived and what criterion was taken into consideration when choosing “the winners”, merely the price that it cost to end up with an ugly building. Still, I was surprised to see that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art made the list. Most of the buildings on their list are indeed ugly but to my untrained eye the SFMOMA presence as a nominee is undeserved. Their argument is that “The building itself isn’t necessarily ugly. But for a museum, the architecture is inappropriate; it calls too much attention to its design and takes away from the art inside. It is a classic example of a signature building, and who wants to see art in a building like that?”, an argument which to me seems a bit shaky. I personally don’t mind seeing art in an signature building. Plus, except for the central skylight which was used by the architect Mario Botta to give the atrium a theatrical feel you don’t really feel the building while you are inside. The exhibition rooms are still rectangular spaces like in any other museum so the building doesn’t take anything away from the art inside. Not to talk about the fact that this argument can be used for many other famous buildings, for example the Guggenheim museums in NY and Bilbao or the Centre George Pompidou in Paris.