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Subject Area: Nation-Building and Modern Architecture in East-Central Europe 

Title: Nation Building from Outside: Transnational Practices and the Architectural Heritage in Modern Romania  (1878 – 1918)

The thesis analyses the European-wide networks of architects and intellectuals that led to the creation, restoration and promotion of a national architectural heritage in late 19th century Romania. Thus, a nation-building phenomenon appears the creation of local and foreign actors that acted between  European cultural centres and the context of a newly created nation-state. Theories of nationalism and modernisations in East Central Europe as well as the concept of "national" architectural style in the region will be brought to firstly expose the constructed nature of concepts like Romanian art and heritage, and then to reveal the dynamic relations between foreign and local actors that complicates and problematizes the straightforward concept of Europeanisation.

The research looks at how the architecture from the past was restored, given new forms and promoted so as to be deemed part of the Romanian national heritage. The historical monuments were instrumentalised to represent the modern Romanian state, its national past and future aspirations. The methods of restoration and promotion ranged from invasive ones like completely demolishing the old buildings and recreating brand new ones, to only assigning them new connotations and meanings. Some of the architects who restored, rebuilt and argued for or against the historical monuments in Romania and who will be central to my study are the French André Lecomte du Noüy (1844-1914) and Charles Le Coeur; the Italians Domenico Rupolo (1861-1945) and Giulio Magni (1859 - 1930); the Austrian Karl A. Romstorfer (1854 - 1917); or the Romanians Dimitrie Berindei (1831-1884), George Sterian (1860 – 1936), Constantin Băicoianu (1859 - 1929). The majority of them referred to the buildings as being in the "Byzantine" style, a fluid artistic concept through which one could at the same time support the idea of Romania as inheritor of the Byzantine cultural heritage, one of the main pillars of the national ideology; and diminish the importance of the Ottoman architecture, another central drive of the national Romanian discourse, which was looking to discard the Oriental influences

The broader goal of the thesis is to depict the way in which the transfers of expertise and ideas between Romania and Western Europe could defined a national identity through art and offer a way for analysing nation-building processes in a transnational paradigm. 


Supervisors: Matthew Rampley (UoB); 

Publications :

  •  (forthcoming) “Between Europe and the Balkans: the Romanian Architectural Heritage”, in Dragan Damjanović et all. (eds), Art and Politics in Europe in the Modern Period, proceedings of the international conference organised at the University of Zagreb, Croatia.

  • “Curtea de Argeș Monastery and Romanian Architectural Heritage in Late 19th Century” in Studies in History and Theory of Architecture, University of Architecture, Bucharest, Vol. 4, 2016. 

  • “A National Image in Front of the World: The Balkan Country’s Architecture at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889” in Miklos Szechely (ed), Ephemeral Architecture in Central-Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, (forthcoming with L'Harmattan, Paris, 2015). 
  • Double Review: Ruxandra Nemţeanu, Villa in Neoromanian Style. The Expression of the Search for a Local Model in the Individual Urban House; Maria Camelia Ene, The National Style in Visual Arts. Decorative Arts. (Centropa, September, 2015).
  • MA Thesis (Hanák Prize for the best dissertation of the year): An Image for the Nation: Architecture of the Balkan Countries at 19th Century Universal Exhibitions in Paris, (CEU, Budapest, 2014). Online access: 


Research Stages:

2017-18:          Visiting Doctoral Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for European History in Mainz, for 8 months (December 2017 – July 2018)

2016:               École internationale de Printemps/ Springtime Academy, Villa Medici, Rome, 16-21 May; organized by The International Consortium on Art   History and Maria Grazia Messina (Florence), Michela Passini (Paris),  Bronwen Wilson (UCLA), Todd Porterfield. (Montréal).

2015:               Midlands3Cities Public Engagement Training, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds 

2015:               Start-up Scholarship: 4 month pre-doctoral training at Bielefed Graduate School in History and Sociology (April 1 to July 31)    

2014:               Research stage at National Archives, Paris and at the Musee d’Órsay funded by Central European University, Budapest         

2012-2013:      Ion Mincu Group Project, Romanian Architects Order, Bucharest. Title: Architect Ion Mincu: a study of his local insertion from a regionalist perspective. Project Coordinator: Ada Hajdu

2012:               Summer School in Comparative and Transnational History, EUI, Florence. Organisers: Professors Pavel Kolář, Luca Molà and Steve Smith



Grants, Scholarships and Awards

2017:               Doctoral Fellowship at the Leibniz Institute for European History in Mainz, for 8 months (December 2017 – July 2018,

2016:               Study Fellowship (September), Institut national d'histoire de l'art, Paris

2015:               PhD Scholarship (tuition fee and maintenance grant), Midlansds3Cities, Art and Humanities Research Council, UK and University of Birmingham

2015:               Start-up Scholarship (April-July), Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology

2014:               Hanák Prize, Central European University, Budapest, Awarded annually for the best MA Thesis of the History Department

2013 – 2014:   Master of Arts Fellowship, Central European University, Budapest Full tuition scholarship, accommodation and a monthly living stipend offered by the Department of History

2012-2013:      Ion Mincu Scholarship Prize, Romanian Architects Order, Bucharest. Research and Travel Grant.

2010:               Travel and Study Grant, National University of Arts Bucharest and Accademia di Romania, Rome




  • 2017: Ruler Visibility, Modernity, and the Ethnonational Mindset, Workshop at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), Denmark Paper: ‘Old monuments for modern times: King Carol and the Romanian architectural heritage in the late 19th century’

  • 2017: International Forum for Doctoral Candidates in East European Art History, Humboldt University, Berlin Paper: ‘Europe in the Balkans: The Creation of a National Architectural Heritage in Modern Romania (1875-1918)’

  • 2017: The Graduate Centre for Europe (GCfE) seminar: Echoes of Empire in European architecture, history and politics. Paper: Architecture and Cultural Colonialism at the Fringes of Empires

  • 2016Art and Politics in Europe in the Modern Period, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, CroatiaPaper: “National Architectural Heritage in Late 19th Century Romania”

  • 2016: ASMCF / SSFH Postgraduate Study Day: Patrimoine, Queen Mary, University of London. Paper: “Restoring Historical Monuments in Late 19th Century Romania”

  • 2016: International Postgraduate Conference on Central and Eastern Europe, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, London. Paper: “Architecture and Cultural Colonialism: the Activity of André Lecomte du Nouÿ in late 19th Century Romania and its Global Context”. 

  • 2014: Turkey and Romania: Historical Ties and Future Collaboration in the Balkans, Organized by Istanbul University in Bucharest, Romania.  Paper: “National Representation Undermined: Romania as an Oriental Country at19th century Universal Exhibitions in Paris”
  • 2014: Budapest-Vienna Special Seminar: Imperial Metropoles - Habsburg and Ottoman Cities in the Long Nineteenth Century, Institute for East European History, University of Vienna and CEU Budapest. Location: Vienna, Austria. Paper: Balkan Countries Paradoxical Architecture at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1900”
  • 2013: Ephemeral Architecture in Central-Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary Paper: “Creating a National Architecture: the Pavilions of the Balkan Countries at two 19th Century Universal Exhibitions”
  • 2013:Annual Symposium, National University of Arts, Bucharest, Romania Paper: “The Romanian Restaurant by Ion Mincu and Other Pavilions at 19th Century World Exhibitions
  • 2012: European University Institute Summer School, Florence, Italy. Paper: "National Architecture in Balkans and the Paris 1900 Universal Exposition"


Volunteer Activities


2014:               Volunteer for European University Sports Association at the European University Games, Rotterdam, Netherlands

2012:               Volunteer, Art History Association, Bucharest. Guided tours on the works of  Romanian architect Cristofi Cerchez

2012:               Summer School, United Games of Nations, Isola, Slovenia.

2008-2010:      Volunteer, Touristic and Ecological Organization “Roza Vanturilor”

2008:               Co-curator, Exhibition of Photo Journalism, Arta Gallery, Câmpulung Muscel,Argeş County, Romania.


Work Experience

2007 – 2013:   Assistant editor, reporter, sports commentator (full and part-time).

Duties: broadcasting of live and recorded events; writing articles; interviewing


Language Skills

  • English: Bilingual proficiency (reading, speaking and writing)
  • French: Full professional proficiency (reading, speaking and writing)
  • Italian:  Professional working proficiency (reading)
  • German: Limited working proficiency (reading and speaking)
  • Romanian: native  





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