Architecture

The Former Chamber of Commerce

The building of the former Chamber of Commerce was erected in 1926 as the first part of a great architectural ensemble, conceived as having three big phases of construction: the Merchant’s Council, the School of Commerce and the Stock Exchange.

The ensemble was never finished, probably because of the financial crisis of 1929.

The “Filiki Eteria” Friends’ of Greece Society, led by the revolutionary Alexandru Ipsilanti, was temporarily established here with 200 mercenaries in February 1821, in the former Cantacuzino houses. The proclamation signed here and the donations of the citizens of Iași, and of the Metropolitan Church had a determinant role in achieving the independence of Central Greece in 1839.

During the interwar period, the spaces from the ground floor and basement were occupied by some of the richest shops in the city, a tobacco shop, the Brokerage House Café and an American bar where Charleston and Dixie bands made the streets ring out with jazz notes. The first floor hosted the Great Hall of the Brokerage House Club, a reading room and two game rooms with access to a side terrace, and on the second floor and the attic there were apartments. Through the arched entrance of the main building you could enter into the inside yard called “The Brokerage Plaza”, guarded by a portico which sheltered the clients during rain. Today, in the inside yard the shady “Fixed” Terrace was arranged, sign of the city’s need to recover the quiet oasis from behind the buildings of Cuza Vodă Street.

The bombings of 1944 destroyed the majority of the aligned buildings, but the Merchant’s Council was damaged only by fires. After the restoration, the construction was nationalized, and the building was given for use to the Romanian Post and after that, to BancPost.

The edifice was considered  a model of elegance and good taste from the very beginning, impressing through its short arches, small and thick columns, the massive fortress aspect, the religious motif of trinity (three trefoil arches) or the rope (spiral) model above the arches. This is part of the Neo-Romanian architectural style, launched by the architect Ion Mincu, promoter of Romanian influences in architecture. It is unique in Iași because it has a powerful imprint of church architecture from the time of Stephen the Great, through the decorative bricks or the enamelled ceramic discs  (yellow, green or brown) with various Moldavian seals.

The edifice is rented to some insurance companies. The ground floor and basement regained their long-lost charm through the “Fix Theatre” Multimedia Centre Association, who was hosted here until 2017. This independent association has currently moved to the former Moldo-Mobila Factory (near Carrefour Felicia) in a space called „Hubrica” and offers vanguard theatre shows.

Bulevardul Carol I nr. 27, Iași 700507
Photo by Alex Munteanu

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