Part Two: New Cetate I
The demolition of the bastions and walls of the Timişoara Fortress created a belt of empty land around its former nucleus. Big parts of it were designated for construction. Many buildings that were erected here were imposing structures in the style of Art Nouveau.
8. Austro-Hungarian Bank
Bulevardul Ion C. Brătianu 1
József Hubert, 1903-1904
This building was constructed to house the headquarters of the local branch of the Austro-Hungarian Bank, the central bank of the dual monarchy. Its architect was József Hubert, who designed 32 offices of the bank all across the empire. It was one of the first structures in the area built after the demolition of the fortress. It is an eclectic building with some Secessionist features. After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire it became the seat of the National Bank of Romania.
9. Piarist High School
Bulevardul Republicii / Piața Regina Maria / Bulevardul Regele Ferdinand I / Strada Piatra Craiului
László Székely & Alexander Baumgarten (architects), Arnold Merbl (constructor), 1908-1912
The Piarist Order is an order of the Catholic Church established in the early 17th century in Rome with the purpose of providing free education for children and youth from poor backgrounds. Their first school in this part of the Habsburg Empire was opened in the mid-18th century in Sântana, northeast of Arad, from where they moved to Timişoara some decades later. The school grew significantly during the 19th century and was soon in need of more space. In the early 20th century the Piarists acquired a plot of land southwest of the demolished fortress and established a larger school complex there.
The structure consists of multiple wings that are placed around a large inner courtard. It contains spaces for various purposes, such as lecture halls, laboratories, a gym, a dormitory, and a church. The architects were László Székely and Alexander Baumgarten, and the style is Art Nouveau. The façades show bulging forms, thick undulating lines and organic elements in the vein of Hungarian Secession.
The Church of the Holy Cross was added to the structure a bit later. It has a high tower on the front and two towers on the back. The latter are, curiously, lower than the wings between which the church stands. It is a single-nave church with a short transept, accessed through a very nice portal.
The Piarist complex is considered to be one of the best works of László Székely. He is commemorated by a plaque next to the main entrance.
The school was one of the best in the region, attracting students not only from Banat but also from elsewhere, like Serbia, Slovenia, Galicia, and Muntenia. It was open to students of all nationalities and all confessions. The language of the studies was Hungarian until the end of the Dual Monarchy.