On what and how

Architectural Magazines in the School Library (1945-1989)


Gabriela Tabacu

translated by

Alistair Ian Blyth


  • architectural magazines
  • architectural periodicals
  • architectural periodicals under communism
  • the Library of “Ion Mincu” Institute of Architecture

Attempting to accomplish a list of the mentioned periodicals structured by years and categories and to interpret this „diagram”, the paper aims to put into light the forms and quality of the architectural information professionals had access to in the studied epoch in Romania.

The research starts by laying on two undercurrent premises:

  • It deems that the periodicals of the time were the main vector in transmitting the most up-to-date information in any domain

  • It looks upon the “Ion Mincu” Library – the biggest library of architecture, affiliated to the unique institute of specialized studies in Romania – as the most operable channel of information dissemination in the field.

On this basis the study analyzes the provenance countries for the periodicals and magazines, the variants of obtaining them (by subscription, current or sporadic acquisition, donation etc.), the continuity of the acquired titles, the variation of the number of titles and its reasons, their main themes, the means based upon which readers could find them etc. These elements are some of those considered essential in order to build a more clarified image of the ways of access at the domains’ peculiar data in the given conditions of the Romanian communist system.

The efficiency this corpus of information was used and effectively put into life by the architects may constitute a new step in scrutinizing the mechanics of the totalitarian system and in clarifying the specific cultural configuration of the period it covered.