The architect duo who designed the cultural complex ”Vulturul Negru” (”The Black Vulture”), Komor Marcell and Jakab Dezső, invested a significant corner of the city with personality by designing two unitary tenement houses, thus providing an expressive connection point between the Theatre square and an elegant street from the city of yesteryear. The imprint of Ődőn Lechner’s architectural program is clearly expressed here through the coherence exhibited in creating the façade as a continuous, richly decorated curtain, hiding both the structure and the functionality of the building.
The buildings known under the name of the Adorján Houses are the first edifices in Oradea built by the architects Komor Marcell and Jakab Dezső. The contractor of both buildings was Sztarill Ferenc.
The owner of the buildings was Adorján Emil, one of the owners of the Vulturul Negru Complex. He bought the land on the corner of Str. Patrioţilor (Patriots’ Street) and Str. Moscovei (Moscow Street) in 1902, a land that was next to the theater’s storage room. In 1903, the First Adorján House (Str. Patrioților no. 6) was built on this lot. This is where Adorján Emil resided and ran his attorney practice. It is said that Adorján Emil wanted to sell the neighboring land (amounting to 30 m of street frontage), but, due to not finding a buyer, erected a property to lease, named the Second Adorján House, in 1904-1905.
The First Adorján House – Str. Patrioților no. 6
The building, which, from above, is shaped like the letter ”L,” has a gangway that leads into the yard at the end of the Patrioților Street wing, and a walkway and staircase at the end of the Moscovei Street (no. 4) side. The planimetry, the initial function of the property can only be assumed in the absence of the original design. There was probably a single six-room apartment on the ground floor, belonging to the owner, along with the service spaces towards the yard, the entrance through the gangway on Patrioților Street, and another entrance from the yard. There were probably two four- or five-room apartments on the first floor. The second featured living quarters and the attic. Currently, the building is re-compartmentalized into several apartments.
An innovative concept treating the façade as a continuous curtain, which gains a remarkable monumental expressivity towards the wing on the corner erected in 1903, it gives fluency to the intersection between Moscovei Street and Patrioților Street.
The best perspective to capture their beauty is by watching them from the axis of the building on the corner. From here we can see the clarity of the decorative concept, the unitary treatment of the semi-basement and the three floors, the last one featuring an attic. The semi-basement and the first level are treated distinctly in relation to the rest of the surface of the façade. The visible bricks of a delicate pink transform the window frameworks into veritable arcatures. Another element of refinement is the sinusoidal cornice, also built from the same pale pink bricks, that unifies, not unlike the precious lace of an embroidery, the upper horizontal line of the second level with the vertical, ascensional lines of the two tympana featuring polylobed attics. All of the lines preciously tracing the façades are festooned with floral studs that punctuate the dancing linear embroidery. This decoration was applied by the two architects at the Fuchsl Palace in 1904 as well.
However, the rhythm of the facades is also punctuated by ampler bouquets and wreaths with floral motifs that have a germinative bulb in their middle. These embroideries, of a rare delicacy, have been fortunately preserved well in time. They still speak to us about the taste for refinement and the vitality of a decorative language that still held on to some of the shine and perfume of the rococo style.
The inflection of the two façades is especially elegant. The semi-circular arch of the ample window on the first floor is succeeded, on the second, by a stylish balcony with an original handrail made from forged iron. Above it, on the brow of the slightly arched cornice, rises, from a decorative vessel, the peduncle of an oleander.
The façade facing Moscovei Street features some of the distinctive elements that particularly define it. Its axis is rendered in a strongly vibrant way through the expansion, at the second floor, of a bow-window whose positive volume is immediately doubled, at the third floor, by the shaded void of a loggia. The ample window from under the bow-window, fortunately, still displays a very beautiful original stained glass window on the upper side, featuring floral motifs that are in perfect harmony with the decorative imagery of the façade. The stained glass, with its delicate interplay of nuances, the precise, but supple design of its lead outline, and its balanced composition are all visual qualities that make us, once more, deeply regret the gradual loss, which has been irresponsibly accelerated especially throughout the recent years, of these invaluable treasures of European art: the splendid stained glass works of Oradea.
Another significant creative feature of this façade is the gate, whose original ironwork has been perfectly preserved. We can find here, as is the case with the Stern Palace, the stylized motif of a peacock or fantasy bird’s tail.
Through the gate, we reach the inside, where we are met with the staircase, which offers us the original spectacle of the ironwork’s embroidery. The design of the foliage motifs, through their fluidity and slight asymmetry, is coursed by the spirit of Art Nouveau.
The Second Adorján House – Str. Patrioților no. 4
The second building was erected by the same famous team of architects between 1904 and 1905. The façade of the building is an exemplary implementation of Ődőn Lechner’s architectural vision. Its purpose was to provide apartments for rent.
The façade is divided in a rigorous and simple manner, all three levels bearing the same number of windows. Differences are present only among the frameworks. This conceptual simplicity is implemented only to be generously compensated by a decoration that is extraordinarily rich. A diaphanous lacework drapes over the entire façade. The decorative fields in the masonry are festooned with rosettes, which are amplified themselves by accentuated wavy borders. These festooned borders completely change the look of the frameworks. They not only amplify them, but also imbue them with personality.
The interplay between textures is an important element of visual language through which the façade of the building is completely reinvented. From rigorous to smooth, from dense to transparent, from coarse to delicate, from fixed to volatile – the façade contains all of these contrasting voices. They are crowned by the strongly undulated attic. Its highest point marks the symmetrical axis passing through the void core of the tympanum, through the ample balcony that features a handrail displaying symmetrical and inflexible sunflowers, and through the massive wooden gate decorated with the exact same motifs as its sister on Moscovei Street.