Volume 7, 2016
The (R)evolutionary Maze: Communist Parties in Europe
Mutable Socialist Displays
Transnational Romanian Architectural Exchanges during the First Two Decades of the Cold War
This article examines the making of Romanian diplomatic practices during the first two decades of the Cold War by analyzing the activity of the Romanian Institute for Cultural Relations with the Foreign Countries (IRRCS) in the field of architecture. I investigate how transnational cultural exchanges conducted jointly by party members and architects adjusted the professional careers of the latter. Questions related to what was good or bad, which images were still valid iconic representations of the country, what values the architects should share, or how to depict architecturally modernisation and the nation dominated the IRRCS debates. Using archival information consisting of reports of cultural activities abroad, foreign travelers’ statements, itineraries, exhibitions’ materials and photographic records etc., I address Romania’s self-representation practices at home and abroad constructed in relation to the Other – the Easterner and Westerner, in close connection to the shift in the country’s economic interests.