The Hungarian architect of a secessionist orientation, Sándor Baumgarten was a disciple and, subsequently, a collaborator of Master Ödön Lechner. He designed approximately three hundred buildings for the education system in Hungary, both in Budapest, as well as in the country side.
In the first years of his career, his works were rather historicist, especially during the collaboration with the architects Imre Steindl and Alajos Hauszmann. At the end of the 19th century, when he entered a partnership with Ödön Lechner, being influenced by him, he realized Secession-style buildings.
In the first decade of the 20th century, he built in Transylvania two school buildings representative for the Hungarian Secession: The Teacher’s House (Cluj) and the Bólyai-Farcaș High School (Targu Mures). In the same period, he collaborated with László Székely, the first chief-architect of Timisoara, at the construction of the Piarist Church in the town on Bega. The three constructions are still functional nowadays, being used for the purpose they were specifically designed for. The interiors and the furniture realized at the high school in Targu-Mures are to be mentioned, especially given the fact they were never modified or replaced, only refurbished. (Mariana Croitoru, 2015)
(Dunaföldvár (next to Gyór), January 21st 1864 - Budapest, May 31st 1928)
1888 - He graduated the Technical University in Budapest, where he obtained his architecture diploma.
Ödön Lechner’s assistant in Budapest.
Professional activity (affiliations, administrative positions, committees):
1889-1894 - He worked together with the architects Imre Steindl and Alajos Hauszmann;
? - Manager of the Public Foundation in Budapest.
1. Public buildings
1902-1903 - The House of the Teacher*, Cluj (together with arch. Herczeg Zsigmond);
1908-1912 - Bólyai-Farcaș** Highschool, Targu Mures.
2. Religious architecture
1909 - The Piarist Church***, Timisoara (together with László Székely, the chief-architect of Timisoara).
1908-1912 - Bólyai-Farcaș Highschool****, Targu Mures.
? - He won second prize in the Contest for the Stock and Value Exchange Building in Budapest (together with Ödön Lechner).
*Initially, in that building could be found a dorm for the pupils from the school of teachers and for the students that were children of teachers. During World War I, a military hospital was operated in the building. After World War II, it became one of the main buildings of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and, in 1990 one of the Cluj School Inspectorate’s headquarters.
**In fact, the architect realized the expansion of an already existing building, the reformed College, built in 1871, to which he added two more wings. His main source of inspiration for the exterior stucco decoration of the facades is represented by the textile folk art of the Szeklerland. The aforementioned decorative element appears around the windows and the massive entrance door. However, overall, the ornaments are discrete, giving a somber touch to the building. The roof merges into the town’s architecture, dominated at the time of the high school’s construction by baroque palaces erected in the 18th century. In the beginnings of the 20th century, along with the economic boom and the town’s architecture development, the baroque edifice that housed the auditorium and the library became overcrowded. As a result, between 1908 and 1909, it was built in its place, in secession style, a new imposing main building, with a view to Bolyai Square. The four storey edifice (basement, ground floor, two other floors) presents a "U" shaped plan, it is comprised of a central jutty counting five axis, followed to the extremities by gradual façade sections, composed of two, respectively one axis. The main gate of the building is found around the central axis. The side edges of the façade are rounded and in this curved spaces a window is designed. The façade treatment illustrates Lechner’s secession, being highlighted by stylized ornamental motifs, inspired by the vegetal reign.
***The church is one of the most representative architectural monuments in Timisoara, being part of the Piarist Complex. It is the only church in Timisoara which bears the touch of the architectural style of the 1900, characterized by the secession movement, comprising neo-Byzantine, Hungarian and Baroque elements. The interior also preserves elements of the Franciscan place of worship, demolished in 1911.
****On the inside, the initial decorative elements specific to the Secession style are preserved, in a color palette dominated by black, green, white and dark red. Here and there can also be found small wooden accents in natural color which are the result of subsequent interventions. The honor staircase of significant proportions, placed on the central axis of the edifice, presents the same decorative language, which combines curved surfaces with ornamental stylized vegetal motifs. A well restored space is represented by the festivity hall in which the chromatic is enriched through the curtains and the protocol seats’ upholstery, made of a dark red textile material. The parietal decoration, that of the balcony and of the hall’s ceiling, are realized in stucco, with stylized vegetal elements of a light green color, with white and golden insertions. The carpentry, the wood paneling and the black wooden chairs are the original ones, as well. The festive hall of the new building was set on the second floor with large windows on the main façade and, on the opposite side, with a gallery held by consoles, characterized by a curved parapet. The hall’s ceiling, combined of curved surfaces, is decorated with stylized vegetal ornaments which evoke the decoration of the staircase. Most of the original carpentry of the building was preserved. The honor staircase, respectively the corridors to the courtyard provide access to the rooms on different levels. Regarding the hundred years old preserved elements, we ought to mention the fixed furniture in the chancellery and the offices, the carpentry, the furniture and the paneling on the corridors of the institution. These were executed in wood that was painted black. In the classrooms and the amphitheaters, the wooden furniture is still the original one but it was painted green. Furthermore, in all the spaces, the floors, the wooden ones as well as the stone ones, are preserved.
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