Elena Miklósik

Anton Schmidt (1786-1863), constructorul uitat al Timisoarei moderne / Anton Schmidt (1786-1863), the long-forgotten builder of modern Timisoara

Jan. 1, 2013

diplome de breaslă
constructor de fortificaţii
teatru comunal
builder of fortifications
master builder
communal theatre



At the beginning of the 19th century, caught within the ring of the massive walls of the fortress, Timişoara town had been hardly defining its new profile. From 21 military buildings, 20 were situated in the inner side of the fortress. In 1807 this town and its church represented the target of the orations of one young bricklayer who had arrived from Arad: he was also asking for a house in this settlement. e story turned real: for four decades the builder had built princely houses, administrative palaces, barracks, hospitals, churches and record houses throughout the historical Banat. His name had become well-known in the villages and towns of this region. Anton Schmidt – a former pupil of Franz Pumberger, a builder of fortifications in Aradul Nou – had more unacknowledged projects before becoming a significant member of the guild in Timişoara. At the time of his first marriage, with Anna Frantz in 1809, the documents mention him as a simply “Murar”. He participated, for the first time in 1818, in a contest promoted for the construction of an inn named “At the Queen of England,” in the suburb of the Fabric district. Scheduled with halls for dancing and playing billiards, the building had to offer several rooms for travelers too. e edifice, designed from a symmetrical viewpoint, with a central risalit on its façade, and its fronton sustained by four columns with Ionic capitals, which tower a terrace at the first floor level, the exterior of the ground floor decorated “in rustica,” had not been approved by the management board of the town. In 1834 Anton Schmidt signed onto the project of a Communal eatre, a building which was supposed to be raised within the inner side of the walls. Its façade re-engaged the clearer and more balanced elements of the unachieved inn. He proposed a new edifice, with some modern stage equipment, an easy access (separate entrance for the artists and public), a comfortable ground floor and dress circles on the floor for the onlookers, and ball rooms for the high life public too. Yet, because of low financial resourses, this project had not been finalized either. In the meantime, the tireless architect also designed other important and utilitarian buildings: a factory and a wine storehouse (Pesac village), a treatment resort (Băile Buziaş), and manor houses (in Herneacova, Sângeorgiu, Beodra/Serbia). He constructed an impressive number of barracks for the army in the fortress of Timişoara or in the region, he designed and built the Town-Hall (currently the Town Museum) and the Hospital in Pančevo (Serbia), a new one storried barracks in Timişoara (1836), he added some more floors at the Catholic Seminar and executed some repairs at the St. George Church. He traveled to Austria and Hungary and returned with the cathedral project from Eger (Hungary, made by József Hild). In 1841 he proposed the construction of a church for the believers from Călacea, several plans for Catholic (with 300 or 500 people) and Orthodox churches, in 1835 he signed a plan for the Evangelic Lutheran Church in Timişoara. e documents in 1836 mention him as an outstanding member of the society in Timişoara: “Muratorium Magister et Selecta Civica.~ Com~ unitatis Membrum”. Getting married, for the second time in 1823, to Anna, the sister of senator Franciscus Mayer, he succeeded in founding a happy family. He was the first builder who had influenced the architecture in Timişoara through his activity. His buildings, most of them scheduled on three levels (wine cellars, ground floors and one upper floor), were characterized by balance, reason and few classical ornaments (columns with Ionic or composite capitals, pilasters, gates marking the axle of the building developed symmetrically on the horizontal level). e more important edifices benefited by one more floor and an attic mounted on classically symbolic sculptures. Only a few of creations have been preserved. e greatest part of the buildings meant to the army (e Genista Barrack, e New Engineers’ Barrack etc.) was demolished when the town was brought up to date. e one-storried castle from Elemir was sold as construction material. We have no information related to the manor house in Banatsko Aranđelovo (Serbia) nor to the Barracks of the Cavalry Squadron in Sânnicolaul Mic (today part of Arad). In Timişoara, in the old historical centre, there is only the imposing building of a business man, Franciscus Xaverius Strohmayer, watching the town out of its numerous windows. He retired in 1851 with a considerable fortune visiting Italy twice. He remained a consultant regarding the important buildings of the town: he elaborated the development plans of the Old Prefecture Palace, he modified his own house in the Iozefin Suburb, sold to the Gendarme Station (1857), he designed for his relatives, he drew and dreamt of ideal familial residencies. Some of these, incomplete drawings and projects, were deposited to the museum in 1908, certifying the fact that... the beseech of the young builder had been finally accomplished.