The concise biography of Béla Lajta

Béla Lajta was born on 23 January, 1873 in Pest, the fourth child of taylor Dávid Leitersdorfer and Teréz Ungár.

1883–1891

Studies at the secondary school of the 4th District of Budapest, where his form teacher is Frigyes Riedl.

1889–1891

Actively participates in the work of the students’ academic society writing and reciting poetry and essays.

1891–1895

Studies architecture at the Royal Technical University of Budapest.

1895

Graduates as an architect on 31 October.

Wins one of the 100-crown prizes for graduates.

After graduation starts working on the team of Alajos Hauszmann on the project of the Palace of Justice in Budapest.

1896

Makes a study trip to Italy. Researching the history of architecture in Rome.

1897–1898

In Berlin he presumably works for the studio of Alfred Messel and Ernst von Ihne.

1898–1899

Stays in London.

1899

Returns to Budapest, opens own office at 28, Alkotmány Street.

1900–1901

Displays some of his architectural designs at the spring and autumn exhibitions of the Palace of Arts (Műcsarnok).

Having visited the World Expo in Paris he travels extensively in France, Spain, Morocco and probably also Syria.

1901–1905

Both his flat and his studio are in the house of the Leitersdorfer family at 42 Dohány Street.

April 1902

Founding member of the Association of Hungarian Architects.

1902–1904

Using his studio jointly with Ödön Lechner they cooperate on numerous projects.

1903

Becomes the technical advisor to the Jewish Burial Society of Pest, being responsible for the local jewish cemeteries.

1905

Founding member and arts advisor of the Club of Erzsébertváros (Erzsébetvárosi Kaszinó).

1905–1912

His flat and studio are in the villa of painter Fülöp László in Pálma (now Zichy Géza) Street.

1906

Elected substitute member of the Budapest Municipal Board.

Visits the Kalotaszeg region of Transsylvania in the company of sculptor Géza Maróti

1908

Elected board member of the Association of Hungarian Architects. In subsequent years fills various positions within the organisation including that of ’executive master’.

Some items of his collection – the wood carvings from Kalotaszeg, Transylvania – feature at the folk art exhibition of the Society of Applied Arts.

At the Exhibition of Ecclesiastical Arts organised by the Society of Applied Arts he displays the baptismal font he’d designed for Elek Koronghi Lippich. 

All four Leitersdorfer brothers change their name to Lajta.

1909

Founding member of the St George Guild of Artwork Collectors.

Member of the Planning Committee for a People’s Education Centre and the Arts Department of the Hungarian Society for People’s Education.

Board member of the Society of Applied Arts. During the subsequent decade he’s member of the exhibition board and later the jury.

1910

From February on he’s proper member of the Municipal Board of Budapest. At the end of the year he’s elected member of the Committee for People’s Education.

Founding member of the Hungarian Jewish Museum as Arts Advisor and President of the Purchase Committee. He also donates several items to the Museum.

1911–1913

His works feature in the periodicals Der Architekt published in Vienna and The Studio published in England.

Spring 1912

His flat and studio are both moved to the villa of the Káldor family at 55 Ilka Street, to which he later attaches a two-floor studio building.

November 1912

Resigns from his Municipal Board membership to concentrate on the project of the Budapest Municipal Library.

19 December 1912

Marries Klára Káldor, aged 16

1913–1914

One of the organisers and participants of the architectural exhibitions organised by the Association of Hungarian Architects within the framework of the regular spring and autumn exhibitions of the Palace of Arts (Műcsarnok) 

1914

The periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Arts) publishes a thematic issue dedicated to Lajta’s oeuvre.

14 June 1914

At the funeral of Ödön Lechner he reads out an obituary on behalf of all Lechner’s students.

1918

His only child, Erika is born.

1918

Elected Chair of the Exhibition Board of the Society of Applied Arts.

8 December 1918

Becomes member of the Cultural Association of Artists and Scientists.

12 October 1920

Béla Lajta dies in Vienna.