About the House of the People

/ archive and images

Ioana Iosa is an architect, a Ph.D. in urbanism, researcher and academic at the Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Architecture de Paris La Villette. The House of the People and identity construction through architecture projects are to be found among her lines of research. She is an author and co-author of numerous publications centered around the theme of the House of the People.
– 2011 IOSA Ioana, Bucarest. L’emblème d’une nation, Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, coll. Art et Sociétés.
– 2008 IOSA Ioana, L’Architecture des régimes totalitaires face à la démocratisation, Paris, L’Harmattan.
– 2006 IOSA Ioana, L’Héritage urbain de Ceausescu: fardeau ou saut en avant? Le Centre civique de Bucarest, Paris, L’Harmattan.
– 2013 «Bucarest: controverses autour d’un héritage architectural» in TER MINASSIAN Taline, POUJOL Catherine, sous la dir., Architecture et patrimoine dans les Etats post soviétiques, PUR.
– 2008 «”La Transfiguration de la Roumanie” à travers le Centre civique de Bucarest» in CHASSAIGNE Philippe, SCHOONBAERT Sylvain, sous la dir., L’Urbanisme, des idées aux pratiques, PUR.

“The potential floor plans (plans, façades, sections, situation plans) of the building from the sketch phase are not to be found today, because they presumably never existed. Work was mainly based on mock-ups, because of Ceaușescu’s delight to play with foam buildings, but also – in particular – his inability to read plans or imagine a form in three dimensions.”


Architect Andrei Pandele photographed a Bucharest on the verge of disappearance, in the ’80s, during the construction phase of the House. He also worked on the project of the House between 1987 and 1988. He talked to and transcribed conversations with other architects who participated in the project. Some of his photographs, testimonies, and documents were printed in the “The People’s House. A Marble End” book, published in 2009 at the Compania Publishing House.
Such initiatives are added to our collective project of recording testimonies and stories about this great architectural colossus.


In the mid-1980s, architect Gheorghe Leahu decided to record his direct testimonies of that period in a secret journal. It was published in 2004 at the Civic Academy Foundation Publishing House (with a re-print in 2013), entitled “Architect in the Golden Age”.
The following is an excerpt from the volume:
On January 5th, I had the rare opportunity to visit the Palace or the House of the People, the most colossal administrative-political building in the world for three hours!… We step inside: tens of meters-long corridors, a 250m long transversal one, 12m wide and 9m high – a 16m colossal, pharaonic, gigantic gallery, meant to shelter giants. Workers moving through this wide aisle like a boulevard seem like ants that get lost in the distance… There were 10,000 people on the site, not everyone had returned from the New Year’s leaves yet. Usually, there were 20,000 people, like in the pyramids, or in the Suez Canal sites, as in all the colossal works of the world that history has listed in its thousands-years existence. Why do we, a country of 23,000,000 souls, need such an expression of a cult of personality without borders?
The country’s wealth, our ‘well-being’, our poverty, are built in the sweat of the 20,000 modern slaves who contribute to the realization of the most formidable, useless and megalomaniac administrative building in the world of all times.”


Ioana Iosa, L’héritage urbain de Ceausescu: Fardeau
ou saut en avant?, L’Harmattan, 2006

Ioana Iosa, Bucarest. L’emblème d’une nation,
PU Rennes, 2011

Andrei Pandele, The House of the People.
The End, in Marble, Editura Compania, 2009

Gheorghe Leahu, Arhitect în Epoca de Aur, Editura Fundația
Academică Civică, 2004