About Virginia ANDREESCU-HARET – The First Romanian Woman-Architect

Virginia Maria ANDREESCU is born on June 21st 1894 (June 9th according to some sources) within the family of the brother of painter Ion ANDREESCU (1850-1882) – older sister to three brothers. Orphaned of her mother at the age of nine, Virginia ANDREESCU grows up with a powerful sense of responsibility and discipline. She is exposed from a young age to a scale of values with an emphasis on art, due to the home walls decorated with paintings signed by her uncle.
Virginia ANDREESCU attends primary school at Pitar Moş School in Bucharest, and then graduates from Mihai Viteazul High school. She takes the entrance exams for The Superior School of Architecture in 1912 and she is the first to be admitted with a 9.25 grade average. She has very good results throughout the entire college years, while also attending The School of Fine Arts. The First World War also affects the architect-to-be, who serves as a nurse. After the war, Virginia ANDREESCU finalizes her studies, her degree project - ‘School of Fine Arts’ – receiving the Award of the Ministry for Education and Teaching. According to the data we have and to the affirmations of certain personalities, like professor architect Grigore IONESCU (1904-1992), the architects diploma issued to Virginia ANDREESCU was the first of its’ kind issued to a woman in Romania. She then takes a study journey to Rome, where she takes part in archeological research.
After roughly a decade of intense professional activity, in 1928 she marries engineer Spiru I. HARET (1892-1970), nephew of the man of science, educator and politician Spiru C. HARET (1851-1912). Their marriage also takes the form of a professional partnership, the two working together on a number of projects. They had a son, engineer Radu HARET, who played a very important role on preserving the memory of her mother through articles published in Revista Muzeelor and Arhitectura magazines and through the archive collections.
Virginia ANDREESCU HARET’s activity also included the history of architecture - working together with Nicolae GHICA-BUDEŞTI (1869-1943) on the publishing of four volumes - and watercolours, leaving behind a vast body of work.
The architectural work of Virginia ANDREESCU HARET is as varied as it could be, going through almost all the stylistic poses of the first half of the 20th century: from classical works to Neoromanian style, following Art Deco and Modernist influences, and, towards the end of her career repetitive functionalist projects for schools. Marked by long pursuits for plastic aesthetic, this achitects’ career seems to have kept a special place for late Art Deco and Modernism, if only, due to the fact that she designs her home within these lines, a home where she lives from 1934 up until May 6th 1962, when she passes away.
This tour is meant to remind us of the work of this architect throughout Bucharest, with the intention to safeguard the memory of an architect who evolved together the architecture of the times and who opened new doors for the women in Romania.