Anca Petrescu: Architect who designed Ceausescu's 'Palace of the People'

 

Anca Petrescu, who died on 30 October at the age of 64, was the chief architect of Bucharest's Palace of the Parliament, or "Palace of the People," a massive government structure described as a huge Stalinist wedding cake. Petrescu had been in a coma following a car crash in September.

The palace is the world's second-largest administrative building after the Pentagon. It spans 3.77 million square feet and is perhaps the most visible legacy of Romania's late dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu.

Appointed the building's chief architect in 1978, Petrescu worked at the still-unfinished palace until her accident. She said in an interview last year that Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Versailles were her artistic inspirations for the building, and not North Korean architecture, as had been widely reported.

Petrescu, who was born in Sighisoara in the Transylvania region of Romania in 1949. recalled in an interview last year that Ceausescu, who was tried and executed on Christmas Day 1989, and never got to use the palace, as being obsessed with detail, constantly inspecting the site. She said that were he alive to see what had become of the palace, which even hosts weddings and balls today, he "would make the sign of the cross", meaning that he would have been horrified.

When Ceausescu's regime fell Petrescu was criticised for her role in creating the grandiose building, on which approximately a million Romanians worked round the clock Around 9,000 homes were demolished, churches and synagogues were razed or moved, and two mountains of marble were hacked down for the 275ft-high palace to be built.

But Romanians have since come to appreciate the palace. Its tenants include the Romanian Parliament, the Constitutional Court and the South-east European Law Enforcement Centre, which fights crime, including smuggling and fraud. Ceausescu had intended the building to house the presidency along with other government agencies. It has acquired celebrity status: Michael Jackson moonwalked in front of the palace, while the former US President George W Bush, the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel have all made speeches there.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Recruitment Genius: Partner Manager - EMEA

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partner Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Regional Sales Manager - OTE £100,000

£45000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Sales Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific