Main entrance of Raichle Palace. (1903/1904) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia
After being awarded the title of the honorary Head Architect of the City by the Grand Prefect, and after numerous designs for other client, in 1903 Raichle emerges in the capacity of the investor, designer and builder of his own home and the adjacent tenement palace.
Detail of Murano mosaic. Raichle Palace (1903/1904) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia
Despite being familiar with construction-related legislation and the entire procedure for obtaining construction permits, as he had been in business in this industry for almost ten years in Subotica as a prominent architect.
He was respected in the City, with a track of numerous buildings featuring as landmarks of this city, his application for construction of his palaces were rejected.
He submitted the application, accompanied by the designs of these two buildings, the two-level tenement house and a residential palace with mezzanine, the stylistic features of which were a continuation of his Viennese orientation.
The application, submitted on January 19th, was rejected soon, within five days, on the grounds that the license could be issued only for a multi-level building, as such buildings had already been built across the street.
Raichle Palace, Wooden bow window. (1903/1904) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia
In a letter he soon submitted to the Senate with modified designs, Ferenc Reichle invokes the fact that the plots did not belong to the 1st Quarter, which was, according to the 1882 Construction Ordinance, intended exclusively for construction of multi-level buildings.
He added that the Ordinance was an obstacle to the development of the city, and many did not want or could not want to build distasteful tenement barracks, but rather family palaces, and, as they are not allowed to do so, many old, unsightly buildings remain in this part of the town.
Aware of himself and his own qualities, he pointed out that his house would definitely embellish the street in aesthetic terms. And so it was. The Senate accepted the modified plans. How he created a masterpiece of Hungarian-variety Art Nouveau out of an average, already seen Viennese building remains veiled in mystery, leaving us with only with a possibility to assume.
Raichle Palace, Main entrance of palace, foyer. (1903/1904) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia
A truly incredible and fabulous metamorphosis happened in the period from January 19th, when he applied for a construction permit for the original design until the beginning of construction, which started in February.
Main entrance of palace, foyer. Raichle Palace (1903/1904) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia
Comparing the design and the completed building, it is obvious that the original functional concept was retained, but all the flaws were corrected, and some alterations were made in terms of improving the quality of life.
The facades of the building, however, were completely changed, undergoing a transformation from average to above average.
A carefully selected location, next to Maria Theresia Park, not far from the Corso, on the axis of the road stretching from the railway station emphasized even more the play of shapes and masses, freely forged forms, which, in harmony with the interior function, flourish, less on the street, and more on the yard façade.
A masterpiece was created, both in setting, proportions, and in harmony of detail, application of materials and color scheme. Before Raichle, Komor and Jakab had designed the Synagogue introducing new aesthetics, new materials and coloristic concepts into the architecture of Subotica.
Upstairs lobby-Raichle Palace (1903/1904) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia
It is on the façade of Raicle’s home, however, that these novelties are vivified in all their vigor.
The harmony of new materials and vivid colors, blue, yellow and green Zsolnay ceramics, Murano glass mosaics, stained glass and terracotta was introduced into previously unvaried surrounding of mostly monochrome facades.
Skylight. Raichle Palace (1903/1904) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia
The unique character of this building is added to by glass blocks, representing a novelty in the architecture of not only Subotica, but also on a larger area.
The dining room, the most representative room, designed to receive a larger number of guests, opens to the back yard with a winter garden decorated with glass blocks in two colors, golden and yellow.
Only one of the original yellow honeycomb-shaped glasses remains, displayed since 2013 in a small exhibitions about the designer and owner in the upstairs section of his former home. Nowadays, we can only imagine how the unbelievable dispersion of light made the stay in this space unforgettable.
In the late 1880, Gustave Falconnier, architect from Nyon, Switzerland, invented a new form of glass blocks. Falconnier’s bricks were hollow, blown into molds and sealed with molten glass pastilles. Falconnier was awarded a prize at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900.
Detail of Zsolnay ceramics. Raichle Palace (1903/1904) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia
Despite not achieving large commercial success, it was favoured by some famous names of architecture like Hector Guimard, Auguste Perret and le Corbusier. Ferenc Reichle joined these celebrities.
This building made him into an exceptional, unique and recognizable designer of Hungarian Art Nouveau. Raichle Palace was declared as a cultural monument in 1973, and categorized as a cultural monument of high importance for the Republic of Serbia in 1991.
Courtyard of palace. Raichle Palace (1903/1904) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia
Even today, more than 100 years ago, this building retains its original appearance and represents one of the most significant and most beautiful palaces in Vojvodina. It used to house the Museum, and today it is the home of the Modern Art Gallery.
The Intermunicipial Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments Subotica.
The narration was provided by Gordana Prčić Vujnović, architect.
Photo credit: Željko Vukelić
Republic Institute for the protection of cultural heritage of Serbia.