This article was written by SEE Heritage's member PhD Viktorija Aladzic, who is also a resident of Subotica.
In the mid-eighteen century a colonization of Vojvodina began, after the withdrawal of the Turks. Back then, within the new state of Hapsburg-Monarchy there hardly were architects and engineers in the Vojvodina area. Settlers have built their homes by themselves without drawings or help of engineers. Most of the settlements had been formed in this way, without plan or regulation. The first engineers came to this area from the other parts of the empire. Local residents did not start to educate their own offspring in Budapest and Vienna before XIX century. Even then architects from the capital had been invited to design important buildings. This scenario happened in the town called Subotica too. Important buildings were built by engineers from the center of the empire, while trained engineers, natives of Subotica, began to appear only in the last quarter of the XIX century. The most famous among them was certainly Titus Mačković. His arrival in Subotica, after the unfinished study coincided with the period of the greatest development of the city and Titus had a magnificent chance to design a huge number of buildings in his four-decade career.
In the Historical Archive of Subotica, more than 400 projects designed by Titus for different types of buildings, such as palaces, ground buildings, warehouses, factory buildings, even tombs… can be found.
Titus was born in 1851. He studied in Zurich, Aachen and Vienna. While studying he traveled on an educational expedition to Germany, France, Switzerland, England, Belgium, Holland and Italy in 1870 year. His tour of Europe largely explains innovations in Subotica’s architecture. Before Titus came back from studies, residential buildings were built in the neoclassical style. However it is not difficult to pinpoint neo-renaissance style on palaces designed by Titus.
Right at the beginning of his career, he worked as the main city engineer from 1878 to 1879. It is assumed that in this period, Titus had renovated front facade of Stevan Milinovic’s house (today Street Rudićeva 2) in an eclectic style. This project from 1879. has been preserved, but not signed. Maybe that was a conflict of interest, because as someone who approved city projects Titus probably should not have been engaged simultaneously in designing.
Picture 1 – Stevan Milinovic’s house
In 1880, Titus designed Simeon Popovic’s house (Street Petra Drapsina 2), and rental houses for Luka Aradski (Street Strosmajerova 4), where Titus applied I-steel profiles as structural elements of the floor-ceiling for the first time in a two-storey house in Subotica (Picture 2). Until then, the ceiling-construction was made out of the massive wooden beams. In 1881 he designed the house for Jelisavete Batic (Street Dimitrija Tucovića 3) also in neo-renaissance style, continuing to design buildings of this architectural style until the end of the century.
Picture 2 – Luka Ardadsi's palace
The following object that Titus Mackovic designed in 1882 with steel construction and shallow arches of tiles ("Prussian vaults") was one-storey apartment house for Petar Radišić (Picture 3).
Picture 3 – Petar Radisic's Palace
From 1884 to 1890 Titus Mackovic held the position of the main city engineer for the second time. In that period he designed a lot of representative buildings and palaces in the city center in the neo-renaissance style. One of the major projects was the project for the Lazar Mamuzica’s house, at that time a mayor of Subotica (Picture 4). Mayor's house has a basis in the form of the letter "L", the main facade is oriented towards the representative Ferenc Rajhla Park which was composed in front of the train station, then the symbol of progress and prosperity.The facade of the palace has neo-renaissance decorations, directing us to the tendency towards identification with liberal bourgeoisie ideas propagated in Vienna. Neo-renaissance style linked Vienna’s liberals with the civil society of Florence, one of the first European cities that was free from feudal lords back in the XIII century. Even the Mamuzic’s palace interior was different from most previous ones built in Subotica. Functional differentiation and connection between rooms, as well as the comfort of flats and their functionality was far greater when compared with other palaces.
Picture 4 – Mayor's Palace
Besides neo-renaissance Titus applied other architectural styles in his projects, neo-baroque primarily. Titus used this style for the first time when he designed his own residential house (Street Brace Radic 4) (Picture 5). This neo-baroque palace was unique in Subotica when designed.
Picture 5 – Titus Mackovic's Palace