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Articles

17/09/2012

House with Chimeras


House with Chimeras

This edifice was built by architect Gorodetsky in 1903 - in a former coast drained «Goat» swamp, forbidden to the building of Kiev house-building society. Most of the constructed houses haven’t preserved. The few remaining buildings are decoration of our city. They reflect fashionable in the early centuries «historical» style or, how it was contemptuously called in Soviet times « elektika» , that is imitation . It seemed madness to begin construction on the break - so the house was enveloped in legends: it is said that Gorodetsky undertook construction on a bet with other architects, argued that it was impossible to build such in this precipice. However, the house Gorodetsky was built in record time – for two years.

Italian sculptor Elio Sala decorated the facade and interiors with whimsical sculptures - sea monsters and exotic animals according to the drawings of Gorodetsky . Of course, this construction was quickly overgrown with legends. They were durable. The house is said to be the memory of the beautiful sweetheart of architect , or that it is the memory of the drowned daughter. The last legend is immense popular , it is fed with remnants of the estate with a pond and preserved dilapidated fountain , and interior of vestibule , depicting ocean floor , and maidens riding on dolphins , they were perceived as a mermaid.

Gorodetsky did not repeat this interior nowhere else: no stair baluster in the form of eagle paws, no ceiling, garnished with pineapple, no hall in the image of the marine realm with a huge octopus and pearl shells. This octopus still astonishes researchers - even fragile at first blush shells made of concrete, and then covered with nacre.

Gorodetsky built this house for himself, on his own fortieth. Moreover, this building was born in controversy. When he won the bet, he proved to himself and others his undoubted professionalism and consistency. And the most important thing, he used new construction materials for the first time : concrete and cement , which were the revolutionary technology at that time.

In a newly built house architect took one floor, other apartments he hired out. Despite the high price there was no end of customers. The house had its glacier, laundry room, wine cellar, and a couple of cows in the yard, with the purpose to receive fresh cream for tenants’ morning coffee.

Perhaps mansion was exploited in a wrong way, whether the serious error was made during the construction, but unique mansion cracked, its width was of 40 centimeters . It was about to collapse into 2 parts. But restorers managed to save an architectural masterpiece. Obsolete piles, which already worn out, have been replaced with new and reliable. Architect Vadim Ilchenko , working in a group of restorers of mansion , thinks that salvation of «House with Chimeras» is a miracle.

In 1913 Gorodetsky sold the house. For a long time the house had been changing its owners, but as a result, after the «October Revolution» peasants' government nationalized the building. Somewhile in the house were utilities apartments during the Soviet era, then they made a hospital of «Communist Party Central Committee» in it.

Over the years of Soviet power , not only supporting structure of the building suffered , but also its interior. The restoration of the architectural masterpiece began in 2002 at order of the President of Ukraine, when it was decided to use a unique building as a small reception house.

In 2003-2004, "The House with Chimeras" was restored. The reconstruction cost about $30 million. The interior of the building, with parquet floor and painting have been fully restored. After the restoration «The House with Chimeras» has become the second residence of President (main residence is in the Mariinsky Palace).

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