A horse race track was built in 1905 on the future site of Casa Presei Libere. A third of the track was removed in 1950 to make way for a wing of the building, and the race track was finally closed and demolished in 1960, after a decision by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej.
Construction began in 1952 and was completed in 1956. The building was named Combinatul Poligrafic Casa Scînteii “I.V.Stalin” and later Casa Scînteii (Scînteia was the name of the Romanian Communist Party‘s official newspaper). It was designed by the architect Horia Maicu, in the pure (albeit comparatively small-scale) style of Soviet Socialist realism, resembling the main building of the Moscow State University, and was intended to house all of Bucharest’s printing presses, the newsrooms and their staff.
It has a foundation with an area of 280x260m, the total constructed surface is 32,000 m2 (344,445 sq ft) and it has a volume of 735,000 m³. Its height is 91.6 m (301 ft) without the television antenna, which measures an additional 12.4 m (41 ft), bringing the total height to 104 m (341 ft).
Between 1952 and 1966, Casa Scînteii was featured on the reverse of the 100 lei banknote.
On 21 April 1960, a giant statue of Vladimir Lenin, made by Romanian sculptor Boris Caragea, was placed in front of the building. However, this statue was removed on 3 March 1990, following the Romanian Revolution of 1989. The statue’s pedestal is still there.
It has basically the same role nowadays, with many of today’s newspapers having their headquarters in the same building, now renamed Casa Presei Libere (“The House of the Free Press”). The Bucharest Stock Exchange (Bursa de Valori București, BVB – in Romanian) was located in the southern wing at one point.