Mătasea Populară – Creative Industry Hub

Matasea Populara (National Silk Facotry) represents my architecture master thesis. It is an adaptive reuse architecture project for a creative industry hub. More importantly it is a proposal for a flexible conceptual framework for public-private multi-stakeholder joint ventures in contemporary urban regeneration projects.

As any area regeneration process, it starts from an in-depth analysis of Traian neighborhood in Bucharest, the area surrounding the Matasea Populara site. This highlights local problems and opportunities which in turn help to define important project variables like the building’s overall function, location, potential users and stakeholders.

The projects detailed functional areas are a consequence of its complex network of potential stakeholders participating in its development, each with different interests and know-how.

Flexibility is built into the project. Its physical shape and function is the result of an evolving process based on a constant reiteration of steps starting from awareness and prototyping through temporary use in order to determine its long term functional areas and its sustainability as a creative industry hub.

The projects creative industry focus comes from the sectors potential as an important branch of contemporary urban economy and its inherently social dimension. The final outcome, a super diverse program mixing public amenities with functions tailored to business development and its eclectic and playful design, are the result of combining both social and economic qualities of creative industries. 

STEP 1: Analyse the neighborhood


Accessibility Analysis (Method: SpaceSyntax DepthMap connectivity analysis)

High Accessibility at Neighborhood Level (pedestrian) and City Level (car)

Built form composition (Method: GIS Data Analysis)

80% 19th Century Low-Rise Heritage Protected Buildings

17% Destructured Communist Era Interventions & Defunct Light Industry 3% New Real Estate (mostly offices and single-family houses)

Quality of Built Environment (Method: Local Statistics O ce 2012 Census)

Large number of low quality old buildings that require urgent repair

Public Space (Method: GIS Data Analysis)

Low built/unbuilt ratio
Low quality small public spaces predominantly located in the 19th Century urban tissue
Percentage of occupied buildings (Method: Local Statistics O ce 2012 Census)
37% larger number of empty buildings compared to the city average
Empty space is found in small residential buildings with unclear ownership status and large former light industry buildings


Company Sector and Industry Analysis (Method: Analysis if local company registry)

Higher then average number of small or individual companies active in the creative industry sector (Local level density/km: compared to city density/km)


Educational Profile (Method: Local Statistics O ce 2012 Census)

38% population with higher education compared to city average of 18%
Top Ranking Occupations (Method: Local Statistics O ce 2012 Census)
specialists in intellectual occupations / legislators / executive members / business owners

Active Population (Method: Local Statistics O ce 2012 Census)

High percentage of active population (68% compared to city average of 53%)


Area Real Estate Development – post 1989 (Method: GIS Data Analysis)

Moderate investment (the area doesn’t provide enough space for large urban projects)

No office space rental opportunities catered to small/individual companies

Local Rent Market (Method: data scrapping of online real estate websites)

Lower rent for office spaces compared to other central neighborhoods (9 euro/sqm – 25 euro/sqm) in low quality old buildings or former industrial sites

STEP 2: Identify potential stakeholders

Method: A series of 30 semi-structured interviews with relevant stakeholders in the field of urban development, higher education, real estate and strategy development


“The creative industry sector can represent the next big thing for our capital city but unfortu- nately the current birocratic structures are not equipped to tackle the complexity and interdisciplinary of the subject”

Liviu Ianasi – Bucharest 2035 Development Strategy

“The market for office spaces doesn’t register the same growth as back in 2006-2008 so we are looking for new types of markets where we can sell and invest into new projects”

Affan Yildirim – Real Estate specialist at Anchor Group


“There is a clear lack of support in starting a new business here in Bucharest and as creatives nishing an art university we are left with a auto didactic process of trial and error when trying to do something by ourselves”

Mihnea Gibus – founder at Dizainar

Network Analysis of Potential Stakeholders and their past collaborations

Method: data visualization of interviews in Gephy, a network analysis software
Conclusion: clear lack of cross sector collaboration which can be enhanced through a joint regeneration project


STEP 3: development timeline & functions