Haralamb H. Georgescu  Architect 1908-1977

 

International-Bauhaus-Modern-Mid Century-Futuristic and California Style Architecture

 

The Library of The Getty Research Institute. L.A, CA.  -   Mincu University Archives. Bucharest, Romania

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Early Life & Education

Georgescu was born in Pitesti, Arges (Romania) in 1908. He attended the Catholic Grammar School in Pitesti, the Junior High School in Iasi, and the Senior High School in Alba Julia before graduating from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest School of Architecture in 1933. He practiced architecture in Bucharest from 1933 until 1947 during which time he designed apartment buildings, hotels, theaters, churches, office buildings, factories and residences; some in collaboration with architect Horia Creanga, nephew of the famous Romanian writer Ion Creanga.

Significant milestones include

  • 1939 - Appointed consulting architect to the City of Bucharest.
  • 1940 – Appointed professor of architecture, School of Architecture at the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest.
  • 1941 – Appointed consulting architect to the Telephone Company of Bucharest.
  • 1945 – Tenure granted as professor of architecture.

Building

Among the more important buildings in Bucharest designed by Georgescu include:

  • The ARO Motion Picture Theatre (800 seats, now Patria Cinema)
  • The National Theatre (2,400 seats)
  • Pescarus Restaurant at Herastrau Lake
  • Mon Jardin and the Melody Bar Night Club
  • The ARO Hotel in Brasov
  • The Malaxa Steel Mill for 10,000 employees
  • The Romanian Life Insurance Company buildings at 91, Victory Avenue in Bucharest
  • The Obor Market

Other work outside of Bucharest included:

  • The Romanian pavilion at the Leipzig Sample Fair
  • The Concordia Plant railroad car factory in Ploeshti

As architect to King Michael:

  • The Yacht Club in Eforie on Sea
  • Summer Residence
  • Boathouse at Snagov near Bucharest

Awards

Seven major awards include:

  • First prize for the Bucharest City Hall competition in 1936
  • First prize for the Bucharest City Hall Club for Employees in 1942
  • First prize for the Savings and Deposit Bank of Bucharest

Publications

  • Editorial staff member of SIMETRIA (Symmetry) Architectural Revue, Bucharest.
  • published various projects in ARHITECTURA, Bucharest.
  • published in ARTS & ARCHITECTURE, January 1959 (Pasinetti Residence)

To the United States

In 1945, Romania fell under Soviet domination and became Communist. Georgescu fled Romania on September 16, 1947, arriving in the United States five weeks later on October 21. Four months later in February 1948, he was appointed professor of architecture (visiting associate) at the School of Architecture, University of Nebraska, Lincoln where he taught Elementary Design, Advance Design and Civic Art. He resigned in 1951 to relocate his young family to Los Angeles, California where he was employed by interior designer Paul László (1951–1953), McAllister & Wagner Architects (1953–1954), and Kenneth Lind, Architect (1954–1957). In 1957 Georgescu opened his own practice in partnership with James Larson before going on his own in 1959 with offices in the Gateway West Building, Suite 946, in Century City.

Georgescu’s projects in the United States included:

  • St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, [3256 Warren Road, Cleveland Ohio][1] (600 seats)
  • St. George Orthodox Cathedral, [9 Mile Road, Southfield Michigan][2] (500 seats)
  • Apartment building at [691 Levering Avenue, Westwood California]http://www.leveringheights.com/4/Apartments-In-Los-Angeles/
  • Apartment building on Dorothy Avenue in West Los Angeles
  • Pasinetti Residence, [1421 Summitridge Drive, Beverly Hills]. Designed in 1957, this residence is currently going through repairs and remodeling by dcon, design plus construction. Published in Arts & Architecture Magazine's 1959 issue, the house has survived for 50 years without any major remodeling since it was built.[3]
  • Georgesco Residence, [420 S. Westgate Avenue, Brentwood California][4]
  • Residence on Crescent Avenue, Beverly Hills
  • Residence on Kearsarge Street, Brentwood
  • California Home for the Aged in Reseda, California
  • Several residences, restaurants and other projects in and around Palm Springs, California

Many biographies on Georgescu cite the Pasinetti Residence as his best example of residential work in the U.S. Built for his client, Italian writer and academic P. M. Pasinetti, also known as Pier Maria Pasinetti, in 1958, this modernist house was featured in the January 1959 issue of Arts & Architecture Magazine. Pasinetti used the house as a part-time residence from 1958 until he died in 2006.

Between 1959 and 1963, Georgescu was associated with Palm Springs-based designer Howard Lapham and designed several large residences, apartment buildings, restaurants and a country club in the desert resort communities in and around Palm Springs.

In the 1960s, Georgescu developed several visionary proposals for the city of Los Angeles with an articulated system of 640-foot high-rise towers containing vertical streets and suspended house lots. His proposals were widely published and highly praised by architectural critics, but never built.

Death

Georgescu died in an accident in Venice California in 1977 at age 69. In a eulogy by Nathan H. Shapira of University of California, Los Angeles, Georgescu was described as an avid traveler and a talented writer and critic. From 1941 to 1947 he served as a member of the editorial staff of the periodical Simetria. He traveled extensively in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. Shapira cites that Georgescu “was quiet and reserved by nature, humble concerning himself, yet immensely tenacious in the defense of his ideals. He enjoyed in full measure that precious gift of winning and holding the love of many. Over the years, he developed a tremendous capacity for work and accomplishment, along with a well considered judgement and a truly professional skill which was highly respected by his peers and his clients, many of whom became his close friends.” At the time of his death in 1977, Georgescu was survived only by his then 27 year-old son, Christopher Georgesco, a sculptor now residing in Palm Springs (as of 2007).

Part Haralamb Georgesu's Archives were acquired in 2008 by the J. Paul Getty Trust. Library, of The Getty Research Institute. The remainder of his Archives are at The Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, in Bucharest Romania where a exhibition for his Centennial Birthday 1908–2008 was held. The exhibition was May 15, 2008, Titled "A Romanian Architect in the U.S.A." and was collaborated with by The Getty Research Institute. A extensive Catalog (130 pages) was published for the exhibition, also titled " A Romanian Architect in the U.S.A." by the The Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism. The Catalog received "The Best Architectural Book of 2008" in Bucharest, Romania. It covers Haralamb (Bubi) Georgescu's work from 1933-1947 in Romania when he escaped the Communist regime and picks up again from 1947–1977 with his 30 year carrier in The United Statess