After the purchase of the buildings on which the foundation of the University Foundation’s palace was to be laid, it was necessary to organize a competition to draw up the construction plans. Six architects participated and presented a draft plan each, of which the one drawn up by the architect Constantin Iotzu was designated the winner. His project, to which the suggestive motto “Lux” was attributed, was endowed with the privilege of giving expression to the monument.
The building was built in neoclassical style between 1930 and 1934, being one of the emblematic architectural monuments of the city of Iasi. Among the companies that worked on the construction, Prager, Santalena and Fischet are the ones that contributed to the establishment of architectural jewels representative of the entire country, such as the Royal Palace in Bucharest.
In order to really emphasize the grandeur of the edifice, the initiative was born to create a square, in the center of which the monument would have risen imposingly. The desire to give it visibility right up to Piața Unirii would have required the opening of a new street, which cuts through Rapa Galbenă. The difficulties involved in launching the expropriation procedures of the buildings stretching from Lăpușneanu Street to Păcurari Street, as well as the unavailable financial resources, prevented the realization of this ambitious plan.
This is how King Ferdinand I founded his choice of Iași for the establishment of the University Foundation.
The sovereign declares his gratitude for the legislative initiative that gave birth to this institution, through a letter published in the Official Gazette of February 24, 1927.
After the completion of the legislative procedures, the management of the Foundation was faced with the difficult decision of choosing a suitable location for the construction of the palace.
Not only the beauty of the palace, but also the functionality of its rooms attracted the attention of the media. Journalists wrote about the possibility of setting up a chapel on the second floor of the building, but the location of the Prapa-Doamna church (the current “Saint Parascheva” Church) in the vicinity of the Foundation made it impossible to materialize this desire. The press revealed the possibility of a radio station in the dome, which would broadcast various communications about science and art. Also in the dome, it would have been desirable to install special equipment for sky research, along with other orientation maps and binoculars.
Although it has gone through a long process of transformation, the “Mihai Eminescu” Central University Library in Iași continues its path to improvement. The project “Restoration and rehabilitation of the historical monument Central University Library «Mihai Eminescu» Iași” aims at the restoration and revitalization of the historical monument, through works and activities aimed at increasing the performance and attractiveness of the edifice.
The project is financed by the SEE Grants 2014 – 2021 within the RO-Culture Programme.
*** Source: Gafton Ioana, „Fundația Universitară «Regele Ferdinand I» din Iași”, Editura Universității „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” Iași, 2018.
Photos: BCU Iași.