Arhitectura balneară de secol XIX, de la tutela statului la proprietatea privată *** Nineteenth-century Spa Architecture, from State Tutelage to Private Property


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Romanian spa architecture enjoys a glorious past, worthy of postcards and international renown. As memorable and flourishing as the period of the 19th and 20th centuries was from this point of view, when the spa ensembles were under state control, as ambiguous and uncontrolled was its recent history, materialised in multiple privatisations and subsequent legal situations that are unfavourable, to say the least. After years and years of maintenance at the limit of survival, in the happiest cases, spa structures are currently facing multiple challenges, of which the economic, legal, and management ones occupy the leading positions.
In this context, we “cling” once again to Timişoara, the 2021 European Capital of Culture, a title that obviously should take into account something more than the denominated city. We hope that the influence of the cultural operators and the project implementation programme will also include in their network strategic points of proximity, such as the town of Buziaş, the destination of European high-class tourism in the 19th and 20th centuries.
This analysis presents an exemplifying case study in an incipient phase of the conservation approach, namely the Bazar Hotel in Buziaş. Privately owned, the building illustrates perfectly the traces of previous, recent interventions, but it also preserves a significant amount of information from its original configuration. A building that is the symbol of the resort, placed in a strategic location from an urban planning point of view, but also in terms of its location within the park complex, but which, throughout its history, has never benefited from a conservation “by the book”, has, from now on, several possible scenarios. Time will once again prove the state’s ability to manage and engage in the economic exercise, the managing capabilities of the owner, and the degree of cultural assimilation in the collective consciousness of society.
We consider this analysis important, as an indicator of future similar interventions in the settlement, generated by the dynamics of the local administration and by the economic potential that is hoped to be capitalised. We also want to draw attention to the risk of irreparable damage if the interventions are uncontrolled, without a coherent overall framework and without the assistance of specialists.
The work should be of interest to architects, owners of historic buildings, the local and county administration, and, last but not least, to representatives of the local and regional community.

Keywords: spa architecture, historic building, conservation, Buziaş, hotel, Bazar, economy