Romanian Migrants' Dream Houses

Brave New World on tour

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Owning one’s own home is a dream shared by many. To build something lasting for oneself and one’s children is a common goal of young couples and families in many countries.

A house can be much more than just a home, however. Romania’s proud houses are most of all a clear symbol of the hard work, success and new social standing of their owners, who left their villages in search of work to support their families from abroad. The proud house simultaneously represents a modern Western lifestyle and a new aesthetic. The urban status symbols rising from the rural landscape garner social recognition from urban and rural residents alike.

The exhibition presents examples of dream houses from three regions in northern Romania, as well as their economic and social backgrounds. Similar houses can also be found in countries such as Greece, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Turkey and others. In condensed form, the houses repeat, emphasize and adapt Western building styles. The cacophony of form and color reveals the builders’ interpretations of the fashions of the Western world. At the same time, however, these imposing structures also reflect the fundamental social changes of the countries in which the migrants work.

Photo: Ilva Mică, Transylvania, 2010 © Petruț Călinescu