Bela Lajta is a name little known outside Budapest and, frankly, one not that well known there either.
Lajta's work not only foreshadows the architecture which came in his wake but can also, perhaps, give us hints towards as yet unrealised forms and diversions.
Following the English Arts and Crafts movement (Lajta worked briefly in Norman Shaw's office in London) and in parallel with Finnish and Swedish National Romanticism, Hungarian architects looked to folk culture--as did those of so many other nations emerging from subjugation by more powerful neighbours.
Lajta's mausoleums in the Salgotarjani Street Jewish Cemetery in Budapest are unlike anything anywhere.
Like the families he was designing for, Lajta was Jewish (he Magyarised his name from Leitersdorfer in 1907).
Examples of ingenuity are too numerous to enumerate in a short presentation; it should suffice to mention the historically, technically, and artistically diverse select, short list of geniuses of Apollodorus of Damascus (2nd century AD), Abbot Suger (12th century), Villard de Honnecourt (13th century), Filippo Calendario (14th century), Leonardo da Vinci (15-16111 centuries), Raphael Santi (16th century), Gianlorenzo Bernini (17th century), Nicolai Eigtved (aka Niels Madsen) and Domenico Merlini (18th century), Bela Lajta
and Adolf Lang (19th-20th centuries), Frank Lloyd Wright (early 20th century), Renzo Piano (20th-21st centuries), Zygmunt Skibniewski (20th century), Frank Gehry (20th-21 centuries), and many others.
It also meant that neither its initiator Mor Karman nor its architect Bela Lajta lived to see the school open (19).
The monumental Jewish High School building was completed after Lajta's death by Armin Hegedus, an architect we shall return to as we conclude this sensory survey of decorated schools.
(18) The account given here is based on the black and white early photographic reproductions that can be viewed at: Csaki, Tamas (ed.): <<Grammar School of the Pest Jewish Congregation>>, Bela Lajta Virtual Archives (2010).
(23) The refined, vivacious nature of the external decoration (including the figurative metalwork panels in the doors) suggests the hand of the designer Lajos Kozma, one of Hungary's most versatile modern artists-architects of the early twentieth century, who had worked in Lajta's office for three years prior to the First World War.
(24) The original surname of Bela Lajta (1873-1920) was Leitersdorfer.
Szomolanyi Manufacturing Process: Needlepunched Fibers: PES, PP, Rayon Thickness: 0.5-4.0 mm Weights: 150-1000 gpsm Widths: 1.5-2.0 m Brand Names: Zala, Velence, Lajta
, Duna, Koros, Darling, Cuha