Wednesday, April 21, 2021


Project organized by Arhitext Design Foundation in partnership with


  • Argeș Territorial Office of Romanian Architects Order – OAR Argeș
  • National University of Arts Bucharest – UNARTE
  • National Music University of Bucharest – UNMB
  • Polytechnic University of Timişoara – UPT
  • Technical University of Cluj-Napoca – UTCN
  • Technical University “Gheorghe Asachi” Iasi – UTI
  • National School of Political and Administrative Studies SNSPA
  • University of Architecture and Urbanism “Ion Mincu”

Project co-funded by the National Cultural Fund Administration


The International Creative Retreat is dedicated to unlocking / re-discovering the meaning and role of written text, of the imaginary created by the latter, through dialogue between art, political and social sciences, in and through their theoretical and critical approaches.

The title is a paraphrasing of the biblical allegory of the “return of the prodigal son” and is used not only as a basis for communication, its meaning being obvious for the wider audience, but also as a challenge, a stimulus for reflection and creative thinking, by swithcing the focus from the prodigal son to the steadfast one (some would call him conservative, cantankerous, a critic, or worse, antiquated and reactionary). This switch is motivated by the fact that the fable, even in recent literary, moral (in short, lay) reinterpretations, uses the prodigal sibling as its central character. We are convinced as well as excited by the idea that turning the spotlight on the other brother will open new perspectives on existing issues, by formulating more dramatic questions regarding a specific camouflaged (intentionally or not) reality. Likewise, we will be able to formulate answers that are not easily available or that are usually uncomfortable or difficult to accept.

Since we are concerned with promoting the written culture, specifically that which is connected to architecture, visual and show arts, we have a few suggestions about the way the fable can be re-read:

  • the two sons (or daughters) represent two ways of thinking and living: a traditional / conservative / localist one and a modern / avantgarde / globalist one, etc.
  • the prodigal son (or daughter) does not return and the other sibling leaves as well.
  • the wealth that is brought into discussion is the written cultural heritage, specifically the architectural, visual one, etc.
  • equally interesting is the father’s attitude towards his two descendents
  • who are the descendents of the prodigal son? what about the other brother’s ones?


  • Bogdan Ghiu – writer
  • Andra Dumitru – sociologist (ATU)
  • Adrian Aramă – PhD. arch., UT-Facultatea de Arhitectură și Urbanism Cluj-Napoca
  • Ionel Oancea – PhD. architect, Iași
  • Sandu Alexandru – Prof. PhD. architect, UAUIM – București
  • Ștefan Vianu – Associate Professor, PhD, philosopher, UAUIM – București
  • Vlad Gaivoronschi – Prof. PhD. arch. UT-Facultatea de Arhitectură Timișoara
  • Ruth Bernatek, architecture historian and theorist, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London
  • Ștefana Grădinariu – architect, winner of the “Critical Discourses” essay competition  – “East-centric Arch” Bucharest Triennale 2016


Arpad Zachi – host and coordinator

Ilinca Pop – mediator