Anca Petrescu: Eastern Europe's most controversial architect
Friday, 15 November 2013 16:18

Anca Petrescu, the chief architect behind the Palace of the People in central Bucharest, had never been able to escape the legacy of the controversial building that came to define her: it is a building that still dominates the skyline of the Romanian capital—and a constant reminder of the dark days of Communism in one of the European Union’s newest member states.

The monolithic Palace of the People remains one of the lasting symbols of Nicolae Ceausescu's totalitarian regime. He never occupied the building; the first rooms were completed just months before he and his wife were executed live on television during the revolution of 1989.

Petrescu, who died following a car accident that had initially left her in a coma, was just 32 when she was made chief architect of a project that would gobble up an estimated 30% of Romania’s national budget while under construction (accurate accounting was not kept), and required around 20,000 people working in three shifts, around the clock, irrespective of the season, for seven years.

By some estimates 30,000 residents were forced to leave their homes to make way for the grandiose...Continue reading

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