THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE is:
Bigger than the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The largest in the world after the Pentagon.
The most massive after the Temple of Quetzalcoatl,
the Aztec feathered serpent god in Teotihuacan.
The heaviest building in the world.
It sinks into the ground 6 mm yearly.
7 times as big as Versailles.
Volume 2,550,000 m3.
Height 92 m underground; 86 m above the ground.
The People’s House and neighborhood cover 7 km2 of the city: the area of Venice.
The most expensive administrative building in the world.
Estimate in 2006: $ 4 billion.
The actual cost has never been established.
Style: totalitarian kitsch
Media magnate Rupert Murdoch wanted to buy the People’s House in 1990. He offered one billion US $. He was turned down.
The Japanese offered more. They were turned down.
We do not sell our country, they said.
There were proposals for the building to be turned into a casino, a museum of communism, a Dracula theme park or the mall of malls.
Today, the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Constitutional Court, the International Conference Center, the Center for International Police Cooperation are housed there but hardly occupy 30% of the People’s House.
The building has not yet been completed.
Heating and electricity cost over $ 6 million per year: as much as a large town. This figure does not include maintenance expenses.
There are at least 1000 people employed to clean it every day.
Zoom in: replacing one baroque style door knob of the People’s House would now cost Eur. 1,000.
The People’s House has:
1,100 rooms. Finished, about 400.
12 floors above the ground.
8 levels underground, including an atomic shelter.
20 km underground tunnels, with multiple escape hatches.
One upper level escape: A helicopter can land and take off from the Union Hall, by opening the glass and bronze ceiling.
The Union Hall: 2,200 m2 (23,681 square feet), height 16 m (52.5 feet).
Acoustic: good conductor of applause.
Tests are provided with visitors’ groups, a worthwhile experience.
MATERIALS, all Romanian:
3,500 tons crystal, in the 15,000 chandeliers, ceiling and wall lights. All made at the glass factory in Mediaș (founded in 1922, closed down in 2015).
Zoom in: one chandelier has a 9 m (29.3 feet) diameter, 5 tons, 1,000 electric bulbs.
700,000 t steel and bronze.
100 kg gold (220.5 pounds).
Almost 1 million m3 (10,764,000 ft3) wood – walnut, oak, cherry, elm, sycamore. 3,500 m2 (37,674 ft2) leather.
220,000 m2 (2,368,080 ft2) woolen rugs, some of them woven in the huge halls of the building. All made by the Cisnădie factory (founded in 1874, closed down in 2010).
Zoom in: one rug, of more than 1,000 m2 (10,764 ft2), weighing 3 tons, can be moved by a team of no less than 35 people.
Considerable amounts of velvet and brocade curtains and drapery embroidered with gold and silver thread. Some of them made by nuns at the Agapia and Văratec convents.
Zoom in: 15 m (49.2 ft) long drapery weighs 250 kg (551.2 pounds).
Exceptions to the rule that all the materials must be of Romanian origin:
A couple of doors to the Brătianu hall were a gift from Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (which means “The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake”), the African strong man for whom they had built a “Jungle Versailles” in his own country.
The People’s House was designed to resist earthquakes up to a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale.
The shelter can resist multiple attacks with rockets, as well as two successive atomic bombs.
In order to fulfill the dream of the country’s “First Architect”, they employed between 20,000 and 100,000 people working on the site round the clock;
700 architects, designers, engineers; one million and a half workers in factories; “volunteers”; 5000 military (the military whose forced labor was not spent in harvesting);
47 cranes with 80 m booms; more than half of them remained captured between walls and had to be taken out piecemeal.
VISITS of the presidential couple to the site: over 400 What the two Ceaușescus disliked had to be demolished and rebuilt by the following Saturday.
Zoom in: the grand marble staircase designed for Ceaușescu, a short man, to majestically descend to welcome his guests, was pulled down and built again seven times, so as to suit his taste and pace.
There were lots of work accidents. Casualties: 27, 3,000, 20,000… The exact numbers remain unknown.
DEMOLITION of the 7 km2 of the old city started in 1982.
They leveled to the ground: the National Archives, The Central Military Museum, Brâncovenesc Hospital, other hospitals and schools, the Institute of Physical Training and Sports, the Operetta, The “Mina Minovici” Institute of Forensics Medicine. The 19th century iron and glass building of the Big Market. 37 factories and workshops, 20 Orthodox churches, 3 protestant churches, synagogues (some of them altered and rebranded beyond all recognition); 8 churches were moved behind the new highrises. The Republic Stadium was changed into garage and storage. The Hill of the Arsenal was leveled under the People’s House itself.
Whole neighborhoods with their gardens, statues and streets disappeared.
There were tens of thousands of demolished houses and displaced families. Some people died from the pain of having lost their home. Some committed suicide. There were victims while demolishing and constructing. The numbers remain unknown.
The copyright for the People’s House belongs to architect Anca Petrescu. She, who was at the head of hundreds of architects working on the design of the monument, legally filed her name as the architect. Her heirs now claim their rights. Any picture taken of the building has to be paid for to the heirs. On this occasion we have learned that the Romanian State does not have legal title to the People’s House. It is no one’s property. The Parliament is trying to find a solution.