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Autori principali: Chioran Bogdan, Pintea Dan Andrei, Rădac Florin, Boca Ștefania

Coautori: Pop Monica Rodica

Colaboratori arhitectură: Blănaru Alexandu, Hăprian Marius Alexandru, Koça Spiro, Ivan Vasile Septimiu

Colaboratori specialitate: Deepak Jain, Colda Ciprian, Sabou Ruben

Urban design concepts

1. The need for public green pockets and public squares along Canalul Morii.

Following the concept of neighborhood unit, and given the lack of green public spaces, the project aims for giving as much as possible to the public. This can be possible by enhancing what is already on site and at the same time creating a strong urban strategy that can contribute to a network of public spaces along Canalul Morii. This gesture is providing a public interface of the school ensemble.

2. The leitmotif of the decroche

The tissue of the studied area is characterized by ambiguous fronts and accidents. Given the fact that the area is placed at the periphery of the historical center, multiple layers of development can be “read” in the present urban tissue. Form medieval, to dualist period, to interwar and then communist times, this space was scared multiple times. These scars present themselves as urban accidents, decroches mixed with the presence of some planned squares, public spaces and different building scales.

3. Believing in what is already there

We choose to believe in the multiple urban accidents and decroches, and activate the public space with simply unveiling Canalul Morii and by adding a series of public spaces along its way. With radical optimism we propose to take advantage of the heterogenous urban space and create a series of hotspots which can improve the quality of urban life.

4. Existing, eliminated, and proposed vegetation

From the spatial analysis we propose to introduce two rows of linden trees on Arges Street. The space we propose to remove trees is in the existing courtyard of the school. The Activity Park will become a generous green space, where we propose to plant linden, birch and beech trees. A series of gingko trees will highlight some of the key spaces, as their coloring will be a great accent during fall and springtime.

5. Proposed traffic scheme

The proposed scheme follows to diminish the car traffic as much as possible in the school area. Arges Street becomes a shared space, while Balcescu Street and Constanta Street can ensure a more efficient traffic flow.

Architectural concept

The interior courtyards

The interior courtyards present today in the urban tissue were most of the time shaped in multiple phases of urban development. We apply the same principle to the existing historical building on our plot. The new proposed volume “completes” the urban composition and offers high quality spaces through the newly created diverse courtyards.


We found the perspectives given by the crooked streets to be very unique and interesting. Due to the curved and angled streets the viewer is “rewarded” with interesting

views that sometimes are planned, like the case of the interwar C.A.S. building. We found this urban feature unique and worthy of interpretation in the new building volume.

1. Green space continuity

The existing green belt is surrounding the historic building with high potential in offering calm and lush public pockets in the agitated city centre and we decided to extend it to the new proposal. This gesture is providing a public interface of the school ensemble.

2. Incresing the outdoor space

The use of a compact volume guarantees a larger outdoor space for school activity and also for the general public, aproximately 9000 m2

3. Diversity in public spaces

All the free space is carefully divided into functional and diverse outdoor spaces. The solution offers the possibility of different types of school courtyards ranging in materials and landscape.

4a. Courtyards use during school hours

From Monday to Friday during the school hours all the courtyard space belong to the students of the school.

4b. Courtyards use after school hours

After the school hours and during the weekends the Activity Park becomes accesibile to the general public and with the attractive ground floor functions (cafeteria and multifunctional spaces) the school becomes an urban hotspot for the entire neighbourhood.

5. Program distribution and courtyard use

The decision to place the primary school in the existing building has multiple reasons: first of all, the two small inner courtyards can be easily supervised thus becoming really suitable for younger students. Second of all, the existing building’s floor area is suitable for a 27 classroom school as the program requires. Therefore, the primary school can be easily separated from the other two schools which are more suited together as the age gap between students shrinks.

6. Giving the historical building a new heart

Being part of the modernization program at the second half of the 19th century, the new schools of Cluj-Napoca were meant to give the medieval urban space a new image. Although the facades of these schools are symmetrical and carefully ordered, the interiors suffered many crooked and sometimes irrational additions, adjustments, alterations, and extensions. This is also the case of Nicolae Balcescu Highscool.

Usually the “heart” of the late 19th century schools is a circulation node, a space that links, as seen in the cases of: State Superior School for Girls, Cluj-Napoca (arh. Alpar Ignac, 1898-1901)-1, Professional Industrial State School, Cluj-Napoca (arh. Pakely Lajos, 1896-1898)- 2.

In the case of Nicolae Balcescu Highscool, this heart suffered many interventions over time and today its heart does not link anymore, it separates. Also, the many alterations which took place, make it technically more difficult to intervene.

Thus, we propose to give it a new central core, which will be more efficient in circulations and filled with common functions which the building is currently missing. More, this will help greatly with the effort of the building to be brought to today’s standards in regards to structure, RsIV, fire hazards, accesabilty and nZeb standards.

Implementation phases

Phase 1

Demolition of the north building and the gymnastic hall. During the process the school can function independently in the remaining buildings.

Phase 2

Construction of the main building of the school. An efficient and compact volume that integrates all the necessary functions for the school together with the sports and gymnastics hall. With this strategy we make efficient use of the valuable city centre land while also maintaning a sensitive scale towards the historic buildings nearby. During the process the school can function independently in the remaining buildings.

Phase 3

During or after the implementation of the main building the other 2 remaining buildings can be demolished. During this process the school can function independently in the main historical building.

Phase 4

During the construction of the main building all the necessary landscape regarding the main courtyard and the north and south side of the plot can be implemented. Also in the south-east corner a small portico structure can be built to serve as a bicycle parking lot.

Phase 5

With the main building and the new courtyard completed the majority of activies of the school can function independently, so interventions on the historic building can be done without affecting the whole ensemble. All the necessary structural and technical interventions, the demolition and reconstruction of the center can be carried out during this phase.

Phase 6

Due to the efficient use of the land, our proposal offers great flexibility for the public administration to further develop the education character of the area. Without compromising any of the initial concepts, two new structures in the north and south can be realized to offer further enhancement to the existing school. These functions will be linked together by the existing porticoes thus providing a cohesieve and unitarian approach. Suggested function: Kindergarden, Research Center, School extension. Total surface of the suggested volumes: 3200 m2


Sustainability is addressed from constructive, energetic, economic and social perspectives. On the constructive level, the compactness of the volume ensures not only material but also energetic economy. Material savings is cumulative, from the actual surface covered (sqm) to the efficient distribution of services (usable area). The simple constructive hierarchy enables easy access and maintenance with the concrete and metal structure planned for long term durability and rehabilitation.