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The Former Discount Bank

banca de scont smallAddress

1 Gh. Lazăr St.

Dating, names and historical functions

In 1752, the first house existing here, having a ground and a first floor, belonged to master builder and member of the “urban magistrate” (city hall council of the German community) Wenzl Lechner.

In 1828, it belonged to Theresia Plausits (Plavsici). In other documents Theodor Plavsici is mentioned.

sconto-smallThe current building was commissioned by Miksa (Max) Steiner; it received the building permit on September 12, 1908, and the use permit on August 13, 1909.

The building housed the Discount Bank.

 

Architectural style

1900s style, szeceszió movement.

Architects – Márcel Komor and Dezsö Jakab made the building in the manner of the famous Budapest master of szeceszió movement, Ödön Lechner.

Aspects of uniqueness

Remarkable is the façade’s plastics, characterized by wavy forms, corresponding to the last phase, the most advanced, of the szeceszió movement. The visual language is expressionist, abstract. The classical elements are no longer used. Unfortunately, some iron work and masonry details are forever lost.

The ornaments made of colored glazed Zsolnay ceramics (both semi-circular fronton with discreet lobes and numerous smaller pieces in the shape of flowers and hearts) are very expressive, reminiscent of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s style, although the above mentioned architects said that they were inspired “by Hungarian folklore”.

The bee hive motif (typical to Secession banks) explicitly appears on the glazed ceramics fronton, but also incorporated into the building’s portal, above the main entrance facing Alecsandri Street.

The building’s visual expression was often praised by the press at that time, which described it as being “the most elegant building in the city”, “Timişoara’s jewel of elegance”, etc.

Miscellaneous

Max Steiner was a lye manufacturer and founding shareholder of the Discount Bank. The house built was a “tenement house”, that is a building with rental apartments. Because of the house’s elegance and individual apartments (and the price asked), obviously the tenants were not ordinary people – among the first tenants are a lawyer, a bank manager and a wholesaler. Of course, the main tenant was the Discount Bank which had its headquarters here. However, owner Miksa Steiner did not live here.

 

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