Built in the early 20th century in the Secession style
The house of the architect László Székely
The house of the architect László Székely

28, Mihai Viteazu Boulevard

Built in the early 20th century in the Secession style, the house of architect László Székely is one of the emblematic buildings of the Elisabetin neighbourhood.

Născut la Salonta, în anul 1877, László Székely a studiat arhitectura la Universitatea Tehnică din Budapesta, absolvind în 1899, iar apoi și-a continuat studiile în Italia. S-a stabilit în Timișoara în 1903, ca urmare a invitației primarului Telbisz de a accepta noua funcție de arhitect-șef în cadrul Primăriei, deschizându-și în același timp și un atelier particular de arhitectură. În decursul a două decenii de activitate ca arhitect-șef a proiectat instituții publice, școli, sanatorii, clădiri industriale, conace, vile și case. Este autorul a numeroase clădiri emblematice ale Timișoarei, printre care amintim: Complexul Piarist, Abatorul orășenesc, Băile Neptun, Uzina de apă etc. A proiectat clădiri și în alte orașe: Salonta, Vršac. Din 1922 a solicitat pensionarea, lucrând doar ca arhitect privat. Numele său rămâne asociat cu dezvoltarea urbanistică și arhitecturală a Timișoarei în primele două decenii ale sec. al XX-lea, căreia i-a imprimat un caracter original și inconfundabil.

Deși László Székely a proiectat o serie de palate impunătoare în Timișoara începutului de secol XX, fiind unul dintre cei mai importanți exponenți al Secession-ului local, comparativ cu aceste palate locuința sa de pe bulevardul M. Viteazu, în care își avea și biroul personal de arhitectură, este una relativ modestă, dar care păstrează caracteristicile stilului personal al arhitectului.

Construită între anii 1908 și 1909, în stilul Secession ‘perioada geometrizată’, prefigurând parcă stilul Art Deco și cel modern interbelic, casa arhitectului László Székely prezintă o volumetrie asimetrică, formată din două părți alăturate, partea nordică fiind mai înaltă. Această rupere la nivel volumetric marchează separarea celor două funcțiuni, cea de locuire și cea de birou. Fațada principală este minimal decorată la nivelul ancadramentelor ferestrelor. În rest există o alternanță a formelor geometrice – dezvoltate pe verticală și orizontală. Amplasată vis-a-vis de Casa Mühle, locuința fostului arhitect-șef al Timișoarei se numără printre clădirile emblematice ale cartierului Elisabetin.

 

Bibliography:

1. Nicoleta Demian et alii, Personalități bănățene, Muzeul Național al Banatului, Timișoara, 2018, p. 37.
2. Opriș Mihai, Botescu Mihai, Arhitectura istorică din Timișoara, Tipar S.C. Tempus S.R.L, Timișoara, 2014, ISBN 978-973-1958-28-6.

Video
The house of the architect László Székely

Pia Brînzeu, Family Journal, Manuscript

Stop 7: The house of Chief Architect Székelv László

 

May 12, 1960. I’m studying for my history test. I’m sitting, concentrated, at a small table in the dining room, crowded in by books and notebooks because I don’t have my own desk, nor, obviously, do I have a room of my own. Although the house is very big, built at the end of the 19th century, with seven spacious rooms, it is now filled with tenants and we, the two children, the parents and the grandmother, only have the dining room and two bedrooms at our disposal.

I’m waiting for lunch. I’m a bit hungry, but the family tradition is that we only eat after father comes home, even if he’s caught up at the hospital, as it most often happens. Our entire family life revolves around him, the head of the family, and we, the children, do not have a say. If we are hungry, we have no choice but to be patient, because lunch is only served when we are all together. It’s a ritual that takes almost two hours, a good opportunity to commune. That’s when we get educated, when we find out what else is new at the C.F.R. Hospital, where Father works now. It’s when we hear Grandmother telling us the latest news about our relatives in Austria and also the time when we can confess our school marks or our mischief in the playground. The cooked dinner is served at seven o’clock in the evening, and we cannot miss or be late for that either.

Mother has no higher education; she went to a college for the daughters of the well-to-do in Budapest, where she learnt how to be a wife. A devoted wife knows how to dedicate herself to her family and how to run a household as if running a company: she has all sorts of employees, who must be coordinated and paid. In general, in the kitchen worked young Székelys who came from Transylvania to learn, in their turn, how to cook and run a household. They were free on Thursday and Sunday evening and they used to go for a walk with some soldier in training and, when they returned, around 10 in the evening, they used to kiss in the gate passageway, where nobody could see them. That’s why Mother would often repeat: “Never kiss like servants, under the gateway”. It was an interdiction which I didn’t really observe because the place was perfect for a stealthily given goodbye kiss.

There were also other employees: a gardener, a woman did the laundry, and a Hungarian carpenter, Mr. Pataki, who could fix everything. The deep cleaning days or when the laundry was done once a month also had their own routines. The laundry was sorted the night before, the whites were separated from the coloured and tied up in big sheets, which were carried down into the basement. There was a cauldron there for boiling the white laundry in lye and a big wooden trough, where the laundrywoman washed them by hand the entire day. Then she would starch them and take them up into the attic, where she would hang them to dry. Sometimes there would ten tablecloths, thirty napkins and countless bed sheets. The monogrammed damask napkins were the last symbols of an aristocratic life. When the laundrywoman got old and left us, Mother had no choice but to replace them with paper napkins. This was dramatic for her because it announced the end of a beautiful era, in which Mother was the lady of the house. Gradually, the cook, the gardener, and then Mr. Pataki also left us, and when we ended up having our meals in the kitchen, where only servants used to eat before, Mother finally understood she could no longer perpetuate a pre-war way of life. From company manager she turned into her own employee and ended up working simultaneously as a cook, laundrywoman, and gardener. My mother’s little tragedy seemed to me the sure sign of feminist modernization: by doing everything you were becoming stronger, you inevitably turned into a multi-tasking, successful woman. I didn’t realize, though, that by becoming multi-tasking and successful, the postmodern woman forgets how to do her job as a wife well...

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