Architecture / Cultural Venues

Students’ Culture House

The Students’ Culture House was built between 1960 and 1962, under the management of the engineer Norbert Zilberman, and was initially called the Youth House.

In the past, on the place of the current building, towards the parking space in front of the edifice, there was the famous Jockey Club or the society for horse race enthusiasts, a building with an impressive architecture, but which didn’t correspond to the communist ideology.

The construction’s style is typical to the megalomania of those times. You can notice the large surface of the rooms and the main façade with wide windows, tall columns and alto-reliefs of the sculptor Iftimie Bârleanu, where young people are represented as being preoccupied by all art forms – dance, music, painting, theatre, architecture, etc. Young communists, heroes of the proletarian fight, were represented on posters, paintings, sculptures or mosaïcs as robust, working people, respecting the rules of socialist Realism as form of art. We can find Other examples of socialist art on buildings in Iași on the façade of the Culture House of the Labor Unions (bas-reliefs) or of the Faculty of Architecture (mosaïc).

Inside, white Rușchița marble, red Moneasa marble and travertine were used. The grand concert hall, with almost 500 seats, was the scene for many theatre, music or dance bands. The House of Youth was described in the newspapers of the time as “altar of Olympus muses” or “the University of free time”. Important names of the Romanian pop-art are linked to this space, such as the “Rosu si Negru” band and the famous drummer Ovidiu Lipan Țăndărică, the “Divertis” humorous group, the Folkloric Ensemble “Doina Carpaților”, the “Quasar” Science Fiction literary circle or the “Ludic” Students’ Theatre.

The building’s purpose remained the same as in the communist age, more precisely, a place where young people could spend their free time and to get together in dance, theatre, music or literature groups.

Organisations for children and young communists

During the communist period, the education of young people in socialist spirit began from an early age. Romania went further than the USSR, inventing an organisation for children between 4 and 7 years old, called “Șoimii Patriei”( The Motherland’s Hawks), which had the role of indoctrinating the little ones into the cult of personality of the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena. The uniform was comprised of a beret, and blue trousers or skirt, orange shirt and a red tie. The children between 8-14 years old became “Pioneers”, were taught Party politics and were encouraged to give a hand in the accomplishment of communist ideals. The uniform was comprised of a white shirt and blue-navy skirt or trousers. The distinctive element of pioneers was the red tie with a tricoloured trimming, for which you had to make an oath to the flag. These associations wanted to be a parallel of the Scouts of the western world. For young people between 14 and 30 years old, the Union of Communist Youth (UTC) was created, a satellite organisation of the Romanian Communist Party, which prepared young people to be model workers and to surpass productivity goals. Children and young people took part in the megalomania manifestation of the Ceaușescu couple, organised on the National Day (then, celebrated on the 23rd of August), on the 1st of May (Workers’ Day) or the 26th of January (the dictator’s birthday). Young people were also involved in mass popular activities, sport activities – Daciada (considered the Romanian Olympics) or artistic activities (music and poetry) – “Cântarea României” or the “Flacăra” Artistic Circle.

Strada Vasile Conta nr. 30, Iași 700106
Photo by CCS Iasi