Best of Kiev » House with Chimaeras
Address: Украина, Киев, ул. Банковая, 10
House with Chimaeras is built in Art Nouveau style, it grew on Bankova street in 1902-1903. The building itself was constructed during one year and it took two more years to finish exterior and interior decoration.
In the beginning of XX century in this part of Kiev which was rather undeveloped and untended estate maintenance was conducted. On a place obtained after draining a swamp the building of Solovtsov Theatre (now Kiev National Academic Drama Theatre n.a. I. Franko) was set up and a plot of land above the theatre was up for auction for nominal price, because according to expert opinion it was totally unsuitable for building and construction. That’s why architect’s Vladislav Gorodetsky decision to build a house for his family exactly in this place provoked great astonishment. It was the first house in Kiev built using a new material which was cement. Performance of such project could have been also kind of advertising action for the production of manufacturer Rikhter, who was engaged in cement making. About 50 cement piles were hammered in at a depth of 5 meters in order to form a stable basement. House with Chimaeras has three stages from the side of Bankova Street and six stages from the side of Franko Theatre.
Neither the exterior decoration nor interior design is anywhere repeated. Not only architect’s fantasy and artistry, but also his addiction to hunting echoed in the decoration of the house. The building from the outside is an unforgettable eyeful. The front elevation is ornate with figures of real creatures in hypertrophic size. Here you can see girls riding fishes and spreading their netting, dolphins and sea reptiles, crocodiles, huge toads, unheard-of size water lilies, heads of rhinos and antelopes, lizards running precipitately on slender columns, eagles with wings extended looking for a prey, elephants whose trunks serve as catch sinks when it rains. All these decoration elements were performed by famous at that time sculptor Elia Sala basing on his own pictures.
Initially the house was constructed as a tenement building. Six out of seven apartments were let to the well-off and one level (third from the yard side and first from the side of central entrance on Bankova Street) was occupied by Gorodetsky himself. The planning of rooms was settled in such a way that the first rays of sun appeared in the windows of servants – lady-cooks and chambermaids. By noon sun was getting to Gorodetsky’s cabinet, where he was usually working at this time and toward evening glanced to the living-room. In 2003-2004 the building was completely restored. By the end of reconstruction the house gained the status of the Minor residence of the President of Ukraine which is meant for welcoming foreign delegations.
This and many other places you can visit during our Kiev sightseeing excursion.