A few years ago, I was doing a documentary about people, who are living in the biggest housing estate in Slovakia. One woman, an extravagant painter, made her flat as a painting from her dream. We were absolutely lost in colours and I considered it a little bit crazy. But then, looking at the grey huge blocks, I realised, I would never say, that there are such a lot colours behind that boring concrete panels.
Most of blocks in Chisinau are not renovated. You can still see them „naked“ like they were built many years ago. What I’ve found interesting, is how were those blocks projected. Architects counted with some concrete decorative elements. All of them are very organised.
These kind of elements make block very interesting. I don’t perceive it as a closed panel, beton box. These organised holes form a feeling of openness.
Some of the facades seem to be more organic, the way how they are built is chaotic, but still, it is not so boring, when you observe them from different angles.
I had a feeling that those blocks are just a concrete anthills, with no possibility of change. What I see in Chisinau is very vivid. Every building is different according to the inhabitants taste. Lets start with balconies.
Something new is going to happen here. What colour? Which type of facade? Red bricks, or turquoise laminate?
Maybe some wood…
Now, looking at those blocks in Chisinau, I’ve found a lot of interesting interventions. Before that I wasn’t so aware of the thing, that one panel is one room. Approximately two panels is one flat. With people’s creations you can definitely see, how big one flat is. This green one has probably two rooms and kitchen with balcony.
I don’t know, how those flats are looking from inside. Maybe there are carpets on the wall, or wallpapers with flowers as in my flat.
Each flat is projected in the same shape and size. It becomes a home with our own design, decoration or intervention. Now, you can see an inhabitants taste from outside. Sometimes there you can observe that neighbors agreed together on one type of colour.
Somebody may consider it messy, ugly, undone… The blocks are slowly changing to some pallete of colours. But of course the type of colour sometimes absolutely doesn’t cooperate with the type of building. When I see just gray or green block, those colours can excel there, but I saw situations, which were hurting my eyes too.
Some blocks remind me a public advertising. Here in Chisinau, you can observe a lot of disturbing billboards. When I looked up to some blocks, I felt like every flat wants to show something. In that time, it makes me disturbed. These are the moments when I felt confused, without any stabile point to focus on.
I am a fan of mosaics, which were instaled on the buildings during socialism. I consider this mosaic very nice and in quite good condition. In this period of time, we usually destroy almost everything what reminds us old times. Yes, welcome new style! But, is it nice?
Anyway, it is very beautiful, when you can look at almost the same blocks, and everytime feel someting different. After a walk in Ciocana I arrived back to my place at Telecentro. I looked up to my block very attentively. No colours. Just grey white.
Text and photos by Paula Durinova