university professor

Profesor Cincinat Sfințescu
the urban planning seminars organized by C. Sfințescu at the Architecture Faculty, between 1928 and 1942 (poster based on information from Urbanismul, 1939 – 9142)

Cincinat Sfinţescu’s academic career is closely related to the emergence and development of scientific urban planning in Romania, as he was one of the Romanian personalities who had a decisive contribution to its creation and evolution. His precursor was Eng  Alexandru Davidescu who, in 1919, organized the first course on urban planning in Romania – “Construcția orașelor” (“City development”) – at the National School of Bridges and Roads (Școala Națională de Poduri și Șosele), within the “Land reclamation, hydraulic machines and city building” department.

C. Sfinţescu began his didactic career in 1920, as professor at the Superior School of Architecture (Școala Superioară de Arhitectură) (from 1931 named the Academy of Architecture (Academia de Arhitectură), teaching three courses – “Urban planning” and “Sanitation and municipal administration” for the third year of study and “Building regulations” for the fourth year. Between 1931 and 1938, Sfinţescu was professor within the “Urban Planning and Municipal Administration” Department (established in 1922); in the same year he held a similar course for the fifth year. The school’s syllabus was paralleled by practical works on various urban planning situations. Starting from general themes, yet adapted to the urgent needs of the towns at that time (planning an area of a great city, planning an existing suburb or even designing a satellite-town in the north-eastern area of Bucharest), in the second half of the 1930s, these projects begin to follow subjects according to the international urban planning movement, for instance projects for linear cities or even “superurbanistic primary colonization”.

Between 1921 and 1928, his didactic activity within The Superior School of Architecture was paralleled by his appointment as professor at the Superior School of Military Engineering (Școala Specială (a Ofițerilor) de Geniu), where he held a course in municipal administration focused on military urban planning, with the practical exercise in planning military neighbourhoods inside the towns. Since 1923(?) he was professor of “(General) Urban Planning and Municipal Administration” within the School of State Sciences / The School of Administrative Sciences (Școala de Științe de Stat/Școala de Științe Administrative) until 1931.
Even after 1938, when the School of Architecture became a department of the Polytechnic School, C. Sfinţescu remained a representative of urban planning education within the faculty. Until 1948 he was full professor at the Department of “Urban Planning and Municipal Administration” and held the courses on “Urban Planning” and “Municipal Administration” for the fourth year of study. Starting in 1940 he collaborated with Arch. Dimitrie Vernescu as his junior assistant, and, since 1944, with architects Radu Laurian and D. Vernescu as his teaching assistants. In 1943 the Section for Specialization in Urban Planning was established jointly by the Faculties of Architecture and Civil Engineering; Sfinţescu had supported that section even from the first ideas initiated by the Faculty of Architecture in 1939. At that section, he held the course on “Urban Hygiene” (“Town Hygiene”) which was part of a vast profile syllabus.

In parallel with his didactic career, during his 29 years of professorship, Sfinţescu was also the author of numerous published courses, authentic textbooks for students. Among the ones published at the Superior School of Architecture we mention just a few: Urban Planning (1923, 1924 and 1929), A course in building regulations (1928, 1929), General Urban Planning (volume I, 1930) and Special Urban Planning (volume II). At the Special School of Military Engineering he edited A course in municipal administration and building equipment (1921) and A course in hydraulic works (1922), and at the School of State Sciences (The School of Administrative Sciences) A course in urban planning and municipal administration (1928) and A course in urban planning (1930).

During that period, Sfinţescu also published a series of critical or informative articles on Romanian education in urban planning in Urbanismul: “Urban planning education. A new structure of urban planning higher education and municipal administration in Romania” (1939), “Urban planning seminar works at The Faculty of Architecture” (1940), “Urban planning education. Urban planning seminar works at The Faculty of Architecture” (1941), “Urban planning and higher education. Urban planning and municipal administration seminar works at The Faculty of Architecture in Bucharest” (1942), “Urban planning education. A special urban planning department at The Polytechnic School in Bucharest” (1942).

Cincinat Sfinţescu retired from the didactic activity in 1949, from the newly-founded Institute of Architecture, established the year before, following the detachment of the Faculty of Architecture from the Polytechnic School.