Architect Raichle Ferenc chose one of the most beautiful sites in Subotica for his future home and office. Working for himself only and following his heart’s desire, he dismissed all established rules and patterns in designing and created a building that is the envy of many. Raichle Family Palace is the first thing visitors see as they first arrive in Subotica by train, and it immediately dazzles them with its forms, decoration and splashes them with its unusual colors.
The monumental entrance to the palace is withdrawn into a part of the façade and represents a stylized, upside down heart. The main wrought iron gate is also heart-shaped. Decoration of balcony railings on the first floor, even more lavish than the one on the ground floor- contains a stylized heart motif. The ubiquitous heart motif, whether made of ceramics, murano mosaic, wrought iron, carved wood or moldings – is always presented in a new and original way.
Raichle finished his home in 1904, in a Hungarian version of Art Nouveau, inspired by Transylvanian folk art, its brightly colored farmhouses, lacelike carved wooden gates, motifs of garden flowers and of course – shape of the heart. The palace was functional and comfortable for family life. Raichle’s architectural office was on the ground floor, and on the first floor there was a large dining room with a winter garden- which also served as a ballroom, a smoking lounge for men- decorated as a Turkish room, a salon for women, one bedroom, one bathroom, a dressing room and a children's room - avant-garde at the time.
Raichle did not enjoy his home for long because he went bankrupt only four years after moving in, and his palace, complete with furniture, luxurious items and works of art, was sold at an auction. Today, it is a home of a modern art gallery Art Encounters while the courtyard is a part of a famous cafe. Left of the main entrance is Raichle’s Tenement Palace, with its size, decoration and colors relating to the Family palace, albeit on a far more modest scale.
Ferenc Raichle (1869-1960) graduated architecture in Budapest and moved to Subotica in 1896. Partially giving in to the preferences of clients, his first projects were not designed in the Art Nouveau style. Although without much luck in Subotica’s architectural competitions, he designed various public and private buildings: the building of today's city library, Grammar School (Gymnasium) building, building of the former Austro-Hungarian Bank (D. Tucović Street no. 15) and many others. Raichle was a bon vivan; he enjoyed life and the love of his family. He generously spent money on travels, art, luxurious materials for his palace - which was one of the reasons why he went bankrupt in 1908. He then left Subotica and spent four years in Szeged, only to finally settle down in Budapest. He continued to work as an architect, recovered from bankruptcy and enjoyed the beauties of life and art until old age.
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