The society, which, apart from providing the Jews of Budapest with the necessary burial rituals also operated a number of charitable institutions decided to build three new such institutions in its recently acquired huge building site at Amerikai Street in 1906. The charity home for the incurably ill and the home for the resident nurses would be housed in the same building, while the old people’s home providing free housing for elderly couples was meant to occupy a separate smaller building. From the competition entries submitted for the first building one of Lajta’s plans was chosen for realisation, due to its excellent floor plan. The proposed elevations, however, were deemed unacceptable and to gain the approval of the construction committee, he had to redraft just the elevations in 1907. Construction work began in 1908 and the walls were erected that year, but it was not until 1911 that the Charity Home was opened, while it reached completion as late as 1913.
The northern staircase would lead to the men’s wing, the southern one the women’s wing, each containing four 11-bed wards, while the main stairs in the middle led to the one- and two-bed wards for paying patients. Each two wards shared a lounge and a covered balcony where patients could get fresh air in good weather.
The elevations of Lajta’s competition plans dated 1907 show the clear influence of the Finnish National Museum designed by Eliel Saarinen and his colleagues (apart from the fact that the former were strictly symmetrical). The drawing published in 1909 lacks most Finnish details, but the walls are clad in random ashlar as high up as the first floor. The general impression of the completed building – further modified by the introduction of monumental versions of folk architecture roof structures and a neo-classical main entrance – is unique and grandiose, yet undeniably somewhat heterogeneous. Because the building took so long to complete, it showcases the developmental stages of the ornamental style of Lajta’s team between 1909 and 1913 as well.
Vadas Ferenc: Pesti Chevra Kadisa Szeretetháza. In: Gerle János - Csáki Tamás: Lajta Béla. Budapest, Holnap, 2013. 131-138. p.