BGS’s Crista Popescu investigates the ‘Significance and Effects of Urban Decay: Buildings with Seismic Risk in Bucharest’.

Research can be part of everyday practice in architecture and can be essential to the outcome of any project. It’s when you discover the intricacies of the situation you’re facing and start formulating an approach or design idea.

This post came about as one of my recent pieces of research outcomes is approaching the 1 million users mark.

Almost 2 years ago I submitted the largest piece of research I put together so far, a study of the effects of seismically caused urban decay in the city of Bucharest,  the capital of Romania. I’m from Transilvania, across the (very tall) mountains from the capital and used to go to Bucharest every week for drawing lessons that would prepare me for the tough exam to get into architecture school. In my spare time I would walk and sketch and observe. The image of decayed buildings, caused by the relatively frequent and occasionally devastating seismic activity in the area, almost defines the entire image of the urban area.

This became the subject of my research and field study for a year and has taken off rather unexpectedly. I took a view on the social, economic, and architectural effects of urban decay in the city, taking 196 short interviews from residents (many of which contacted me directly). Having seen all the buildings in person, I created an open source map that now aids people in buying, renting, or holiday stays in the capital. It also shed light on the extent of the issue and possible approaches for remediation.

If you are interested in reading the original text, it’s now available in university libraries or online through the EThOS system (or get in touch with me directly).

The map is approaching the 1 million uses mark is available through my blog.

The other blog posts I made whilst undertaking the research are here.