“RED HORIZONS” is the title of the documentary book written by the two star Romanian general of intelligence, escaped in US and condemned to death by the Ceausescu regime for high treason. Ceausescu decreed a bounty of two millions dollars for his death. Yasser Arafat put another one million on top of it. “RED HORIZONS” is a portrait of the Communist regime as Pacepa, member of the so called “Securitate” – the Romanian secret service, has seen it. The photography attached here is not a homage to this book or to the Communist regime, but the title Red Horizons came immediately  to me mind when I did this altered picture of the second biggest building in the world, “THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE”, now hosting the Romanian Parliament. It was  built entirely by the Romanian people with Romanian technology, intelligence and materials. It is surpassed as dimensions only by the Pentagon building.  Ceasusescu didn’t have the chance to use it, because it was not finished when he was shot to death by the new power that overthrown him when the Romanian revolution occurred, in 1989. For allowing space to this huge building, a portion of the city was demolished, including an old and beautiful monastery. To understand the scale of the event, the area that was completely pulled down is about the size of Venice laguna. The People’s House is much bigger than you actually see in the picture bellow. At least 13 stories are developing in underground where Ceausescu ordered that an atomic shelter to be built. More than 2 milion sqm of marble was necessary to pave the interior. Inside the building, there are carpets weighing up to 2.000 kg a piece, installed with the crane. The inner courtyard is the size of two football fields.

After 1989, in Bucharest was a long and serious debate about this building. It was architecturally and psychologically condemned as the symbol of a horror era, now that must be forgotten. There were even strange, unpractical and stupid ideas as the one that proposed to cover with earth the entire building. Another one was to make inside the biggest Casino in the world. Eventually, a serious architectural contest took place, with a prize of $ 100.000 for the winner. The contest was presided by the great japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. An austrian architect won the contest with a clever idea to diminish the pressure of the building on the city by creating behind and around the new downtown with office towers. The road map of the new business area would have been the same that the old one previously demolished.  It’s a pity that this good architectural idea has never taken shape and all the contest remained an intellectual exercise.

There were memorable events hosted by the People’s House after 1989, as the party for the baptizing the son of Fane Spoitoru, a Romanian interlope, who convinced the officials to rent him the building for a gipsy style party. Recently, Top Gear put to test a Lamborghini, a Ferrari and a Porsche inside the tunnels beneath for the well known television show.

Despite of it’s name as a hose of the people, sadly, a great part of the politicians that use The People’s House today derives from the Communist party or the ex Romanian secret service, with the same power and benefits and are guiding us towards new horizons perhaps as red as the old ones.

The photography was taken on medium format film, with a field Arca Swiss monorail camera and Schneider optics, then scanned and post processed.

ORIZONTURI ROSII este cartea scrisa de Generalul cu doua stele din fosta Securitate, Ion Mihai Pacepa, scapat in Statele Unite si condamnat la moarte de catre Ceausescu pentru inalta tradare. Ceausescu a pus un premiu de doua milioane de dolari pe capul sau iar Yasser Arafat a adaugat inca un milion. ORIZONTURI ROSII este un portret al regimului comunist asa cum generalul Pacepa l-a vazut si a trait sa ni-l povesteasca. Fotografia atasata aici nu reprezinta un omagiu adus cartii sau regimului comunist insa acest titlu a fost primul care mi-a venit in minte cand am realizat aceasta imagine modificata a Casei Poporului, a doua cladire ca marime din lume, dupa Pentagon. A fost realizata in intregime cu forta de munca romaneasca, inteligenta, tehnologie si materiale romanesti. Ceausescu n-a avut sansa sa o foloseasca niciodata fiind impuscat la revolutia romana, inainte sa fie finalizata. Pentru a face loc Casei Poporului, Cartierul Vacaresti a fost demolat, inclusiv vechea si frumoasa manastire cu acelasi nume. Pentru a realiza scara la care s-au petrecut lucrurile, suprafata demolata este aproximativ aceeasi cu cea a Venetiei. Partea vizibila a cladirii nu reflecta dimensiunile sale reale. Cel putin 13 etaje sunt ingropate in subsoluri unde Ceausesc ordonase constructia unui adapost atomic. Peste 2.000.000 de metri patrati de marmura au fost folositi pentru pavarea interioarelor cladirii. Au fost instalate cu macaraua covoare de peste 1 tona.

Dupa Revolutia romana din ’89, dezbateri importante in legatura cu viitorul cladirii au avut loc. Casa Poporului devenise simbolul unei ere apuse care trebuia ingropate. Au fost si idei stupide si nepractice ca de exemplu aceea de a acoperi intreaga cladire cu pamant sau ideea de a face inauntru cel mai mare Cazino din lume. Un concurs de arhitectura a avut loc, cu jurizare internationala si premii de peste 100.000 de dolari, prezidat de catre marele arhitect japonez Fumihiko Maki. Un proiect din Austria a castigat merituos, cu ideea inteleapta de a face sa se diminueze presiunea cladirii asupra orasului prin crearea in spatele Casei Poporului a unui nou cartier de afaceri, cu turnuri inalte de birouri. Trama stradala ar fi urmarit pe cea a cartierului demolat prin ordinul lui Ceausescu. Pacat, aceasta idee nu a fost niciodata pusa in practica, iar cel mai mare concurs de arhitectura din Romania a ramas doar un exercitiu intelectual.

Casa Poporului a gazduit cateva evenimente cu totul memorabile precum botezul lui Fane Spoitoru (va mai amintiti? va vine sa credeti ca a fost real?) sau test drive-ul oragnizat acum cativa ani de catre Top Gera care a pus cateva masini rapide sa se intreaca prin tunelurile de dedesubt.

In ciuda numelui de Casa a Poporului, acum este folosita de actualii politicieni, proveniti in mare parte din acelasi blamat pe fata partid comunist si securitate romana, cu aceleasi beneficii si puteri. Acestia ne conduc in continuare catre noi orizonturi, poate chiar mai rosii decat cele de dinainte.

Fotografia a fost facuta pe film format mediu cu o camera Arca Swiss de tip monorail, cu lentila Schneider si apoi scanata si prelucrata.

And the original picture: