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The Bucharest blockade, “the people’s right to columns” or Stalinism with a human face. How barracks buildings became more expensive and sought after than new blocks of flats

The blocks of flats built in the 1950s in Bucharest look like garrisons, although they have facades and classical columns of a strange beauty. They open onto a green inner courtyard, a public space of their own, beneficial, though they had an obligatory “red corner” inside, a mini-library from which their inhabitants were necessarily sheltered by the wisdom of Stalin, Lenin, Marx and Engels. “Cvartal – Cultural Heritage of Bucharest Neighbourhoods” is an extraordinary project signed by a team of historians, architects and filmmakers who set out to inventory and research the neighbourhoods of the 1950s in Bucharest. Below, an interview with historian Andrei Răzvan Voinea (Studio Zona) about how Stalinist quarters became an example of good Bucharest housing in top-quality blocks of flats where you can hardly buy an apartment today.