Horia Creangă and some of his work
Horia Creangă (20 July 1892 – 1 August 1943) was a Romanian architect important in the modernist movement. Described in 1999’s Romanian Modernism as “the true founder of the modernist age”, he was the designer of the first important modernist structure in Romania, the Asigurarea Romaneasca (ARO) insurance building (1929–1931). He was one of the key designers in adopting modernist design into housing, but is even more prominent in modernist industrial design. The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture indicates that “[d]espite the austerity of Creanga’s modernist vocabulary, he reached a remarkable expressive force that remained unequaled in the production of the industrial architecture.”
Born in Bucharest on 20 July 1892, Creangă attended first the Bucharest School of Architecture in 1916 before graduating from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. After he graduated, in 1925, his mentor Gustav Umbdenstock secured a position for him in the Nord Railway company. In late 1926, he returned to Romania with his wife Lucia.
Soon after his return to Romania, Creangă entered a competition to design the Asigurarea Romaneasca (ARO) insurance building and won. In 1929, he designed the building in collaboration with his brother, Ion, and his wife. Completed in 1931, it is the first important modernist structure in Romanian. The building established Creangă’s career. In 1935, he opened an office with architects Haralamb Georgescu and Nicolae Nedelescu, working primarily for three clients: ARO assurance, Malaxa industries, and Bucharest City Hall. For these clients Creangă designed industrial and residential buildings, notably including the Malaxa Industries building (1930–1940), and emerged as one of the key designers to adopt the basic elements of modernist design into housing and one of the most respected modernists in industrial architecture. His work, however, was not uncontroversial. The ARO Building which made his reputation and influenced the embrace of Modernism in Romania was fiercely criticized as well. His works were not published by mainstream Romanian industrial publications until the late 1930s.