Real estate interest threatens Bucharest historical buildings

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The present-day real estate profit-gaining interest makes its most important contribution to the loss of the beautiful buildings in the protected areas of Bucharest, despite the real earthquake risk, reads the Black Book of the Patrimony, which was compiled by the Order of Architects in Romania with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Religious Affairs and National Patrimony.

According to the above-mentioned document, the current picture of Bucharest, with the historical buildings that have no earthquake risk and are demolished quickly, situated in the centre of the capital and in the elegant and unpolluted residential areas of the city, and with skyscrapers that appear in an aleatory and disorderly way, is quite alarming and foreshadows a destruction of Bucharest that will surpass the one of the communist period.

This is so although building skyscrapers is approved by the relevant departments of the local and central authorities all over Bucharest, in the protected area of the historical monuments included, and these skyscrapers mix up with low buildings and cause traffic and parking problems that cannot be solved.

The document mentioned before emphasizes the fact that, at present, the „red spot” warning against the imminent collapse in case of an earthquake becomes an „invitation” to pull down numerous buildings that belong to the first class of earthquake risk, which are located in the areas in the centre of the capital or in the residential areas north of the city, etc, where one square metre of land costs between 3,000 and 7,000 euros.

These buildings have a fragile resistance structure, made of bricks, easy to demolish, and have thus become extremely „attractive” for the real estate profit-gaining activities meant to create the free space for the future investments in high buildings, which are from three to eight storeys higher than the general level of the area/district in which they will be situated.

The examination of the data presented for the buildings that were technically assessed as being in the first class of earthquake risk in Bucharest, buildings marked with the „red spot,” demonstrates that the initial aim of the programme meant to make an earthquake assessment of the buildings in Bucharest, which were damaged by the Vrancea earthquakes in 1940, 1977 and 1990, was the drawing up of a list including priorities in consolidating and offering safety to the inhabitants of the buildings having serious problems in their resistance structure.

But the Black Book of Patrimony reads that, in the past few years, the list has been completed with a very large number of low buildings, a few storey high, generally made of brick and concrete, with wooden floors and brick vaults.

These buildings may possibly be included in the same class of earthquake vulnerability with the high ones, like those that fell to the ground in 1977, but cannot rigorously be regarded as belonging to the same class of earthquake risk for the mere reason that, taking the earthquake experience of 1977 as a basis, in case of a major earthquake, similar to the one in 1977, they have human, economic and social consequences completely different from the ones that were generated by the collapse of the high, many-storeyed buildings made of reinforced concrete on March 4, 1977.

As over 50 percent of the list of the Bucharest buildings that are included in the first class of earthquake risk are low buildings and only six buildings of the 392 ones on the list belong to the second class as importance, one can notice that other aims, inexplicitly declared, were included in the priority list of earthquake consolidation, reads the Black Book of the Patrimony.

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