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Cățelu neighbourhood

Somewhere between Mihai Bravu road and Baba Novac street, there is a completely atypical neighbourhood for this city: it is the experimental Cățelu neighbourhood, a minimal housing estate, flooded with greenery, pedestrian walkways and archways.

The “Cățelu Experiment” is said to have been an emergency neighbourhood built sometime in the early 1950s to house Basarabian refugees. The truth is that it was part of a complex project of housing complexes, in that area were also built the projects of Mihai Bravu 227 and Intrarea Sector, relatively similar. Although the design began earlier, the actual construction only started in the summer of 1955. The name Cățelu comes from the former name of the street Câmpia Libertății. The buildings were designed by architect Tiberiu Niga in a complex style with vernacular influences. The size of the dwellings is small (some studios are about 30 sq m, even if they were intended for families with children), but this is compensated by the outdoor spaces and gardens.

The whole area has an intimate feel and a rhythm of its own as the complex contains many spaces that can be classified as semi-private or semi-private. For example, the gang entrances leading to the communal gardens and courtyards are marked with signs reading ‘Tenants Only’.

The quiet of the neighbourhood that envelops the streets of Întrecerii, Năzuinței, Prieteniei and Cutezătorilor seems cut off from the crowded Bucharest. A simple walk along Doicești and Fildeșului streets is enough to discover houses decorated with gardens full of flowers, in an urban contrast that every inhabitant of Bucharest knows.