Guguță Cafe

Location: Chisinau, Moldova

Constructed: 1967-1969 (redesigned 1979)

Architects: V. Kudinov and V. Zaharov (1967) and S. Lebedev and N. Zaporajan (1979)

Former name: Restaurant Noroc

Genre: Modernist, Soviet architecture, former USSR

Located in Ștefan cel Mare Central Park, the building was originally constructed as a restaurant called Noroc. The restaurant closed in 1976 and both the interior and exterior of the building were redesigned as a cafe for children and young people. The premises was renamed Guguță after the children’s book character created by Moldovan writer, Spiridon Vangheli (1932-). Guguță’s most characteristic feature was a large traditional lambskin hat given to him by his father and the entrance canopy to the structure symbolises the young boy’s inseparable headwear.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the cafe became popular with teenagers but closed in 2007 and fell into a state of abandonment thereafter. City authorities subsequently sold the building and the land to a private investor and, in 2018, granted the new owner’s permission to demolish the Guguță Cafe and replace it with an office block. This sparked a local opposition movement called OccupyGuguță. The activists want the cafe to be rejuvenated and although they have been successful in revoking the decision to knock the building down, its fate is still very much in the balance.

Guguta Cafe (Restaurant Noroc/Stalus Bar) in Chisinau, Moldova | Modernist | Soviet architecture | former USSR

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