CRITICAL REVIEW


    Nicolae P. Cerkez, a leading figure of his time, is almost forgotten today, his activity remaining in the shadow of the monumental activity of his older brother, eng-arch. Grigore P. Cerkez.
    Spending almost his entire life working in the state’s technical service and teaching at the university for more than 30 years, Nicolae P. Cerkez devoted his career to the citizens of Bucharest. His name is linked to great ministerial projects of some public financial institutions but also to the rearrangements of the royal palaces and public gardens.
His activity was mainly that of an entrepreneur, often collaborating with arch. Constantin Baicoianu and with the contractor Dobre Nicolau. From small repair works to large sites, lasting for years, his activity serves the modernization of the capital under the reign of Carol I. His name remains linked to the buildings of the Superior School of Arts and Crafts, The State Publishing House, The School of Veterinary Medicine and the expansion of the Ministry of Finances.
    The archives showed very few files related to private properties, which represents proof that his time was occupied with the activity in the ministries and technical committees.
    It is difficult to estimate to which extent Nicu Cerkez defined his own personal style when, in fact, he used the neo-classic one because it was required for public spaces.
    His two-three floor constructions are ample, with austere facades and very few decorative elements (gables, dents, garlands, cartridges). A particularization of the treating of the former buildings of the Publishing House, The School of Arts and Crafts and of the Veterinary School consisted of the chromatic alternation between the brick on display with the light plaster. (Oana Marinache, 2015)
 


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    BIOGRAPHY


    (1851-1927)
     
    Academic/specialized studies:
    1872-1876 - The School of Arts and Crafts, becoming a diplomat construction engineer for the French Government.  
    Didactic activity:
    1882-1911 - He was a professor of industrial physics at the National School of Bridges and Roads in Bucharest.
     
    Professional activity (affiliations, administrative positions, committees):
    1876 - He returns to Romania and he is employed by a railway company (foreign concessionaire) and a founding member of the Society of Architects and Engineers, along with his brother, Grigore Cerkez;
    1877 - Engineer of the Technical Service in Giurgiu, hydraulic engineer;
    1878 - He negotiates with the Russian troops the war reparations and the repurchase of a railway line;
    1879 - He enters the technical service of the Ministry of Public Works;
    1881 - Founding member of the Polytechnic Society; Extraordinary Commissioner for organizing the crowning of Carol I;
    1882 - Founding member of the Romanian Encyclopedic Society;
    1883-1889 - Chief-Architect of the Ministry of Agriculture and Domains;
    1890-1891 - Chief-Architect of the Ministry of Culture and Public Education;
    1891 - Founding member of the Society of Architects in Romania;
    1892 - Deputy in Ilfov;
    1911 - Senator;
    ? - Vice President of the Romanian Automobile Club and member of the Geographic Society;
    ? - Member of the technical committees for the construction of the following institutions: The National Archives, The Chamber of Commerce and the Stock Market and The Palace of Justice.
     


    PROJECTS


    Finished projects

    Architecture projects:
    1881-1885 - The Royal Palace, expansion and maintenance, Bucharest (together with arch. Paul Gottereau, entrepreneurs M. Tonolla, Dobre Nicolau);
    1881-1884 - Ministry of Finances - M.A.D., expansion of the lateral wings and adding floors, the old Faca-Romanit houses, Bucharest (currently, Museum of Art Collections);
    1883-1889 - The National Bank of Romania, Bucharest (contract); 1890 - He orders furniture (according to Albert Galeron and Cassien Bernard plans, together with arch. Constantin Baicoianu);
    1886 - The Superior School of Arts and Crafts, Bucharest;
    1886, 1892 - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Bucharest;
    1896-1899 - The Court of Auditors, possible collaboration with arch. Constantin Baicoianu (the author of the plans), Bucharest (today, The "Carol Davila" Hospital);
    1900 - Ministry of War, subsequently the palace of the "Steaua Romana" Petroleum Society ulterior, Bucharest (today, Student dorm, The Payment Agency for Agriculture);
    ? - The State Publishing House, Bucharest (currently, The National Archives of Romania).
     
    Demolished works:
    1881 - The "Ion Câmpineanu" House dependencies, Calea Victoriei, Bucharest;
    1883-1885 - Arrangements and small constructions on the Avenue, Mogosoaia Garden, Cismigiu Garden, together with the gardener W. Knechtel, Bucharest;
    1884 - Annex to the First Romanian Land Credit Company, Str. Coltei, Bucharest;
    1884 - Building repairs, Str. Stirbey Voda nr. 34, Bucharest;
    1885 - Restoration and furniture, the old building of the Chamber of Deputies, Bucharest;
    1889-1890 - Repairs of the Castrisoaiei houses, Calea Victoriei corner of str. Doamnei, Bucharest (together with arch. Ion Socolescu);
    1889 - The Salon - café at the National, The Insurance Company, Strada Doamnei corner of str. Smardan, Bucharest (arrangement together with arch. Constantin Baicoianu);
    1893 - The expansion of the Nicu and Maria Cerkez houses, Strada Mercur nr. 4, Bucharest;
    1905-1906 - The Agriculture Pavilion, realized for the 1906 Exhibition, Carol I Park (together with ing. arch. Grigore P. Cerkez);
    ? - The State Mint, Str. Monetariei, Bucharest.
     
    Restoration projects:
    1879 - The Cotroceni palace and garden, Bucharest;
    1881 - Repairs of the Grigorescu house.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY


    Author volumes:
    THEODOR, Cornel, Figuri contimporane, 1911.
    Traseu urban Grigore si Nicolae P. Cerkez, Editura Istoria Artei, Bucuresti, 2013.
    Bucurestiul multicultural: 10 trasee de arhitectura, Editura Istoria Artei, Bucuresti, 2015.
     
    Webgraphy:
    http://nicolaecerkez.blogspot.ro/