CEC Palace

CEC Palace (Romanian: Palatul C.E.C. – Casa de Economii şi Consemnaţiuni) is the former headquarters of the national savings house and is located in Bucharest on Calea Victoriei. Today it is a historical building owned by the municipality and intended to host in the future the Art Museum of Bucharest.

Before the erection of the palace, the spot was occupied by the ruins of a monastery (Saint John the Great) and an adjoining inn. The church, built in the 16th century, was renovated by Constantin Brâncoveanu during 1702-1703, but later degraded and was demolished in 1875. The palace was built as a new headquarters for the public savings institution Casa de Depuneri, Consemnaţiuni şi Economie, later known as C.E.C. (Romanian: Casa de Economii şi Consemnaţiuni), the oldest Romanian bank, founded in 24 November 1864 by ruling prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza. The lands were bought and the building built with the institutions's own funds. Work started on the 8th of June, 1897 and ended in 1900. The projects were designed by the French architect Paul Guttereau, a graduate of the School of Art in Paris, while the construction was supervised by the Romanian architect Ion Socolescu.

After 106 years of service, the building was deemed no longer fit for modern banking and was therefore sold to the municipality to be used as a museum, in exchange for 17.787 mil. euro. Even if no longer open to CEC clients, the Palace remains rented as bank headquarters until a new suitable building is found or built.

Built in eclectic style, the palace ends in a glass and metal dome. The entrance features an arch supported by two pairs of columns in composite style. The four corners are decorated with gables and coats of arms and ending in Renaissance domes (from Wikipedia).