Axel Braun - work and projects

THE GAP (2014)


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THE GAP (2014)

Near the city centre of Bucharest, a remarkable building in the pompous, neoclassical style of the Ceausescu era is located at the banks of the Dâmbovița. Urban legends report that it was originally planned as a museum for the Communist Party of Romania.

Like many other of Ceausescu’s prestige projects, the building remained unfinished until the dictator’s death. However, Ceausescu had the carcass provided with a fake facade and a festively decorated balcony in order to take the salute for his last national holiday parade in 1989.

After the revolution, the building was supposed to host the national broadcasting services, which gave it the name Casa Radio. As the plans did not advance, the building was sold to multinational real estate developers in the late 1990s, in order to create Eastern Europe’s biggest shopping mall from a ruin of Communism.

To gain additional space for glass facades and shopping galleries, the square building was split into two symmetrical parts. Shortly after completion of the demolition works, the investor got into the struggle of the global financial crisis and “paused” further developments in order to restructure debt.

During the years, the split ruin became a retreat for a remarkable population of crows. The birds frequent the city by day and return to their rock by night, as the site is well protected against intruders by watchdogs and guards. However, from time to time the birds rise from their resting places in large swarms full of panic: a couple of falcons have discovered the retreat, trying to benefit from easy prey.

This project began in the framework of an artist-in-residence programme of Goethe-Institut Bucharest in 2014.