Fonds 1475 - Jules Janco (Iuliu Iancu) Fonds

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Jules Janco (Iuliu Iancu) Fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Moving images
  • Sound recording
  • Architectural drawing
  • Cartographic material

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Reference code

CA JPL-A 1475

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1829 - 2009 (Creation)
    Janco, Jules, 1896 -1985

Physical description area

Physical description

Contains 0.17m of textual records, 254 photographs, 5 strips of negatives, 29 architectural drawings, 1 cartographic record, 10 objects, 6 sound recordings, and 4 moving images.

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Name of creator

(1896 -1985)

Biographical history

Jules Janco was born on October 11, 1896 in Bucharest, Romania to an upper-middle class family comprising his father, Hermann Zui Janco, a textile merchant who worked in the "Frtazi Janco" building with his brother, his mother, Rachel (née Juster or Iuster), from Maldovia, and ultimately three siblings: Marcel Janco (1895), George Janco, and Lucia Janco (1900). The family resided in a Bucharest house built by Hermann Janco's father.

In his early years, Janco attended a German school; he spent middle school at a Jewish lyceum, and high school at Lyceul Lazar. The family travelled frequently, mostly to Austria-Hungary, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. In 1912, Marcel and Jules Janco, alongside their friend and later artistic collaborator Tristan Tzara (alias Sammy Rosenstock), joined the editorial board for the Symbolist magazine Simbolul to which many of Romania's prominent poets contributed.

Around 1914, Marcel and Jules received their high school diplomas and, amidst the brewing war in Europe, left Romania for politically-neutral Zurich (joined in 1918 by George), where Marcel intended to study architecture and Jules engineering; Jules faced complications entering engineering school, and soon both brothers took up studies at the architecture school at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (University of Zurich Federal Institute of Technology). During this period, Marcel and Jules moved in social circles with many "disciples of the Dada movement," including Tzara, who had also relocated to Zurich, Hans Arp (painter and sculptor), Sophie Tauber (painter), Huelsenbeck (a poet), Hans Richter (a painter and writer), Rudolf von Laban (a choreographer and designer), and Mary Wigman (dancer). The friends would meet regularly at taverns around Zurich including the Meirei, where they would take turns sharing and performing their latest artistic or literary works, and for which Marcel and Jules would produce costumes and masks. The brothers became increasingly involved in the movement over the course of their education--arranging festivals and exhibitions, performing in the weekly concerts--while at once juggling their studies. Tzara would occasionally take over administrative duties if the brothers were too busy, and helped spread the Dada movement by putting ads in newspapers which were distributed globally.

In 1919, after graduating from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Marcel and Jules left Switzerland for France, where Jules was eventually offered employment as an architect for a post-War reconstruction project in Croix de Bac, France (then later Belgium) under a man named Richardot; Marcel left to work in Bethune, France, and eventually returned to Romania.

After roughly three years in Crois de Bac, around 1922, Jules returned to Romania, where Marcel was married to a woman named Micheline and working as an architect at the Rosenthal offices, and George worked as a railway engineer. His parents had sold their previous house and now, along with Marcel, George, and Jules, lived on a large plot of land which they decided to develop with duplexes to host an influx of Bucharest arrivals. Marcel and Jules began to help family members with their architectural needs, and their network of clients expanded steadily, sometimes working as colleagues, Marcel sometimes working alone or with George.

Initially, Janco designed mostly homes and residential complexes, but as his career progressed, this expanded to larger and more complex projects. Marcel and Jules are credited with designing many of the first modern buildings in Bucharest, the Prahova Valley, and the Black Sea coast. The brothers' Bauhaus-inspired collaborations emphasized interior design and urban development, and are said to be motivated by functionalist conceptions popularized by Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. By 1938, Janco was declared a national architect for Romania. His notable projects include Ștrandul Kiseleff, or the Strand, a large sports and recreation complex; the Bucegi Sanatorium, which he designed alongside Marcel, and numerous homes within and outside of Romania.

Janco met and married Mizzi Packer, with whom he eventually immigrated to Canada. Jules Janco passed away in 1985.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds contains materials pertaining to the life of Jules Janco, with an emphasis on his architectural career. This includes transcripts, diplomas, and letters of recommendation issued from the architecture school he attended along with his brothers in Switzerland, letterheads and business cards from Janco's professional collaboration with his brother Marcel Janco, professional notes and memos, a number of architectural sketches of homes and buildings in Romania and Palestine, and photographs and brochures pertaining to architectural projects Jules Janco was involved in--most prominently, Ștrandul Kiseleff (the Strand) and the Bucegi Sanatorium. A number of work-related objects, including scissors, a miniature magnifying glass, and spectacles, are also found in the fonds.

Personal records from Janco's childhood and young adulthood in Romania, through to his marriage to Mizzi Packer and emigration to Canada, can also be found in the fonds. This includes birth, marriage, and death certificates, citizenship records and passports, some personal and financial correspondence, and a number of coupon bonds issued to Janco and his father, Hermann Zui Janco. A large number of photographs document family trips around Romania and to France; some photographs from Janco's school days, including scenes with peers, are in the fonds.

Some research Janco's own family members conducted about his life is also contained within the fonds. This includes a map of Bucharest demarcating sites of Janco's projects, a series of tapes in which Janco has voiced over his own life narration, and documentary footage on VHS compiled by a filmmaker.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Yiddish

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    This description was created by Processing Archivist Kate Moore on December 8th, 2022.

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