Support the Ivanovici Villa!

Băile Govora, The Balneary Town

Today a small balneary resort such as Govora can only take pride in the heritage of its own identity – its history, the curative ritual, the natural landscape and a brief series of remarkable buildings that turn the heads of passers-by, making them sigh deeply and nostalgically.

Many of these edifices that the local community identifies with and that make up the most valuable part of the urban nucleus – buildings typical for the Romanian balneary tourism of the early 20th century – are today impossible to use because of their critical level of degradation.

As architects, we have researched every corner of Băile Govora and we are fascinated by the way in which the ideal model of the city-garden has been embodied by this resort. As locals, we dream of the moment when we will be able to meet on the terrace of Ivanovici Villa and have a lemonade together.

We want a beautiful town that keeps its particular charm and its balneary architecture that makes it so special. We want enduring cultural values that we can all enjoy and pass on.

It’s Time To Go Beyond Nostalgia!

We now have the opportunity to take action for the recapture of Govora’s balneary built heritage. We can start with Ivanovici Villa, the only building listed as a historic monument, which has not been restored yet and is owned by the state, hence by the citizens.

At the end of May, we found out about TMI’s grant call and we thought this could be a new beginning for Ivanovici Villa. We have gathered a team of specialists to help us and we have found options for funding the work which amounts to 220,000 RON (approx. 46,500 EUR). We presented the idea to Băile Govora Town Hall, the administrator of the villa, who decided to support our initiative.

Without its balneary heritage, Govora wouldn’t exist. Govora’s heritage belongs to its inhabitants, as well as to those who come here in passing, for a holiday or for a cure.

Vrem să arătăm că patrimoniul Govorei poate mobiliza o We want to show that Govora’s heritage can catalyze a community of people who, though simple gestures, can play an active role in the town’s rebirth.

Why now?

On May 20th, the National Institute of Heritage (INP) launched the first call for projects that will be funded from Timbrul Monumentelor Istorice (TMI; eng. Historical Monuments Stamp), which is an extraordinary opportunity for the Ivanovici Villa. TMI is, at the moment, the only national funding available for emergency interventions meant to secure historic monuments. Ivanovici Villa is the only building in Băile Govora that can benefit from this funding, as it is the only historic monument that is a public danger.

What We’ve Done Since May 20th

So far, we have managed to remove the surrounding vegetation and evaluate the damage. The building is in an advanced state of degradation and its status as a historic monument means the villa requires special attention and collaboration with certified specialists.

We have been joined by arch. Raluca Zaharia – Atelier RIDA – who, alongside the structural engineer Horia Mihnea – Cross Structural Design – has proposed technical solutions, and engr. Marian Rădoi – International Partner Buro S.R.L. – who has helped us with 3D scanning, thus offering us essential information about the building in record time. Together we have designed the technical solution necessary for the intervention and we have obtained the permit for the emergency intervention.

Now we are left with the challenge of financing the emergency intervention work, which amounts to 220,000 RON (46,500 EUR). We have applied to the call launched by INP for funds from Timbrul Monumentelor Istorice, requesting 200,000 RON (42,000 EUR). For the rest, we have started this fundraising campaign.

The first objective: 20,000 RON (4,500 EUR) by July 30th, the date the results of the TMI call are published.


May 20th – the launch of the call for projects funded from Timbrul Monumentelor Istorice (TMI)

the assembly of a team of specialists who volunteered to put together the necessary studies and documents

June 6th – we presented the idea of Băile Govora Town Hall, the administrator of Ivanovici Villa, and they joined the initiative

June 9th – structural expertise

June 12th – the Town Hall cleaned the vegetation around the villa

June 15-16th – 3D scanning of the villa

putting together of the documentation

July 1st  – submitting the funding proposal

Ivanovici Villa

Remarkable for the wooden lacing of its façade and for its generous verandas from where one could choose to look upon the town or the woods, Ivanovici Villa is closely tied to Govora’s history, as the balneary resort was in its first years of existence when Colonel Ivanovici built the edifice around the year 1900. Today, unlike other large villas that are privately owned, Ivanovici Villa is state-owned. Out of use and in an advanced state of decay, the villa now needs an emergency intervention. This is the first step towards opening it to the community.

1970 – 2007

At one point (in the ‘70s) it hosted a boarding house and classrooms. Starting with 1996 it became the property of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and was managed by ISU Vâlcea.

In 2005, because of its precarious structural state, it was declared #publicdanger. In 2007, Băile Govora Town Hall managed to take over its management in the hope of obtaining funds for its rehabilitation.

2007 – 2012

Although valuable and representative, Ivanovici Villa was only recognised as being part of the national heritage in 2009, once the procedure started in 2007 for its listing as a historic monument was finalised. The villa is since a historic monument of local importance and it is protected by law. In 2012, the Town Hall evicted all the tenants for their own safety.

Necessary works:

From a functional point of view, the building is divided into a central wing with accommodation rooms and an entrance from the street, and the secondary wing located at the back, consisting of accommodation rooms and bathrooms. The worst degradation can be found in the secondary wing. The pitiful state of the construction is the result of both natural and human factors and the effects are easy to see: collapsed ceilings, missing roof tiles, missing areas of the verandas, fissured walls, deformed wooden floors.

  • Support and wooden scaffolding

The main wing, although in a better state than the secondary one, requires support for the ceilings on the last floor, or else they will collapse. Support for them also means supporting all the ceilings at inferior levels. The secondary wing requires support and protection from humidity of the walls that are still standing, or which will remain standing after the works of controlled dismantling.

  • Controlled dismantling of certain constructive elements

The secondary wing is in danger of total collapse. The risk is very high. If the secondary wing collapses, it will also bring down parts of the main wing. Because of this, it is necessary to disjoin the two, both at the level of the roof and of the verandas. The detached wooden elements must be removed and put to safety in order to be restored or replicated. We aim to recuperate as much as possible of the original materials for the reconstruction of this wing.

  • Protective roof for the newly resulted secondary wing

Protection against rainwater is important even for walls. After carrying out the dismantling and support works, a simple one-slope roof will be built, separate from that of the main wing, that will protect the elements of the original structure.

  • Repair works on the roof covering, rainwater drains and pipes

Protection against rainwater ensures the integrity of the constructive elements and prolongs the building’s life.

  • Removing rubble, garbage and other leftovers from the building

The action is necessary in order to reduce the load and the strain on the building, as well as to facilitate access in certain areas.

  • Ditch for redirecting rainwater

After the partial collapse of a support wall and the destruction of the drain ditch behind it, water coming unchecked from the north-western side of the plot led to the degradation of the secondary wing.

  • Monitoring cracks

It is important to know whether the movements of the terrain, which caused most of the degradation, are still active after the emergency intervention is finished. For this, we will set up devices to monitor the evolution in time of the existing cracks

What Happens After July 30th?

If we manage to raise the necessary amount and obtain funding from Timbrul Monumentelor Istorice (TMI), at the beginning of August Băile Govora Town Hall will sign the financing contract. After this, Vila Ivanovici will undergo work until November 30th, when the emergency intervention is supposed to be finalised.

Vila Ivanovici is full of surprises and, like any respectable historic building, will present many unforeseen challenges. But we can’t know what they are until we start. If we raise over 20,000 RON (4,500 EUR), the extra money will go into covering the various unpredictable problems of a typical restauration.

If we manage to raise the money, but don’t obtain the funding from INP, we will carry out minimal essential interventions for putting the building to safety, within the limit of the existing budget.


Subscribe to our newsletter

Cultural project co-financed in 2020 by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN). The project does not necessarily represent the position of the AFCN. The AFCN is neither responsible for the project content nor for the way in which the project results may be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the grant beneficiary.