The Petrila Coal Mine closed on October 30, 2015, and was slated to be demolished by January 2016 after more than 150 years of mining history. The company proposed no alternatives and made the decision to close the mine without any consultation with the local community. In 2011, however, after learning about the fate of the mine, a local artist and a team of architects initiated a series of projects offering alternatives to demolition. This article shows the complicated emotional relationship between the local inhabitants and the mine, as well as the dysfunctional communication between community, NGOs, and the local and central authorities. In a broader discussion of the neglected Romanian industrial legacy, it depicts how industrial heritage has made alternative scenarios an unavoidable topic of debate.
An Activist Perspective on Industrial Heritage in Petrila, a Romanian Mining City
Ilinca Păun Constantinescu (PhD, 2013) is an architect and a teaching assistant at the University of Architecture and Urban Planning “Ion Mincu” where she has taught in the History and Theory of Architecture and Heritage Conservation Department since 2008. Her specialization is in the theory of architecture, urban theory, and design. She is the founder of the architectural firm Ideogram Studio (2012) and of IDEILAGRAM Association (2015). Additionally, she has organized several cultural projects, including a series of workshops focused on the regeneration of the industrial heritage from Petrila, between 2012 and 2014. Păun was the curator and author of the Shrinking Cities in Romania exhibition held at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) Bucharest.
Dragoş Dascălu (PhD, 2014), is an architect and teaching assistant at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning. He was part of the Architectural Design Studio team in its third year, and was a research intern in the ECO-Nomadic School Research project at the University of Sheffield. His main research interest is the complex relationship between architectural processes and social mechanisms. Since 2014 he has been a columnist for the Romanian monthly cultural magazine TIMPUL (The Time). Additionally, he has been part of the Petrila Urban Regeneration project since 2012, focusing mainly on the local community’s social representations of the buildings of the mine, and on appropriation and participatory tactics.
Cristina Sucală is a practicing architect based in Paris, France, who specializes in twentieth-century heritage. She did an internship at Wessel de Jonge architekten, a firm well known for its work in the field of conservation of twentieth-century heritage in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She is a part-time PhD student at Iron Bridge Institute for Cultural Heritage, Birmingham University, focusing on industrial heritage, the process of patrimonialization, and future strategies for preservation. She founded Petrila Urban Regeneration in 2012 and is particularly interested in a heritage and conservation perspective and in forging connections with administrative stakeholders.
Ilinca Păun Constantinescu, Dragoş Dascălu, Cristina Sucală; An Activist Perspective on Industrial Heritage in Petrila, a Romanian Mining City. The Public Historian 1 November 2017; 39 (4): 114–141. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2017.39.4.114
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