Entrance: via Liguria 20
Entrance: via Liguria 20
Hidden Legacies of the Cold War in Romania: Ștei, the ‘Secret Uranium City’ and its Conflicting Narratives between Heritage and Ecology
Industrial branches such as gold and uranium mining, steel, oil, or nuclear industry are directly linked with their environmental footprint. Moreover, the disappearance of the production site in the brownfield regeneration projects leaves scars in the cultural identity of local communities, with theoretical, ethical, and practical questions on if, why, and how such ‘toxic’ built legacies should be maintained, acknowledged as heritage, and used as assets in the post-industrial revitalization process. Ștei, a former industrial town built during the early 1950s as the headquarters of the Soviet uranium exploitation sites in Romania during the Cold War, represents such a case study little known due to its multiple ‘hidden’ narratives such as the secrecy developed around its functioning, the lack of any available archival documentation, or the still missing environmental narrative from the official local strategies and statements.
Currently, Ștei is the case study of an international and interdisciplinary research group composed of specialists from Politecnico di Milano, Ion Mincu University Bucharest, and ENSA Paris La Villette. Architects, sociologists, historians, and photographers started with the investigation idea of the ‘monument as a document’ to understand how the ‘Russians’ city’ of the 1950s was built (i.e., architectural surveys of the buildings, construction materials and techniques), while simultaneously developing a recording process of the local memory through direct interactions with the local community (i.e., interviews, photographic recording) while balancing the various ‘hidden’ narratives.
The keynote is moderated by Florence Graezer Bideau and Peter Larsen.
The keynote is part of the internal workshop Hidden/(un)told heritage narratives and the politics of storytelling, a collaborative initiative by EPFL, the University of Geneva, DAStU – Politecnico di Milano and Istituto Svizzero.
Oana Tiganea graduated at the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning from Cluj-Napoca (Romania) with a PhD in Preservation of the Architectural Heritage at Politecnico di Milano (Italy). She is an Assistant Professor in Architectural Preservation at DAStU – Politecnico di Milano where she develops didactic and research activities focused on the 20th-century-built legacy, with a particular focus on the industrial heritage. She is the coordinator of the project Stei, the Secret Uranium City: Industrial Legacy between Ecology and Architectural Preservation (2021-22) and Hidden Legacies of the Cold War: Territories, Architectures, and Memory (2023-24), focused on the case study of Ștei (Romania).