The House with Chimaeras, or Gorodetsky House, is an exceptional example of Art Nouveau architecture in Kyiv, Ukraine. It was designed by the renowned architect Vladislav Gorodetsky, who was born in 1863 in a Polish noble family and studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Gorodetsky worked on various projects throughout the Russian Empire and Ukraine, contributing significantly to Kyiv's architectural landscape.
The House with Chimaeras was constructed between 1901 and 1902 as a private residence for Gorodetsky himself. It was built on a steep hill, which allowed for a unique design featuring three stories on one side and six on the other. The building's name derives from the numerous sculptural decorations of mythical creatures and exotic animals, such as chimaeras, dolphins, and elephants, adorn its façade. These sculptures were created by Italian artist Emilio Sala, who worked closely with Gorodetsky.
Gorodetsky built the House with Chimaeras as a demonstration of his architectural skills and to showcase the innovative use of then-modern materials like reinforced concrete. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, Gorodetsky was forced to sell the house in 1913. After changing hands multiple times, the building eventually became state property during the Soviet era. It was used for various purposes, including a clinic, an apartment complex, and a communal living space.
As for other works by Gorodetsky, he designed several prominent buildings in Kyiv, such as the National Art Museum of Ukraine, the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral, and the Karaite Kenesa. Throughout his career, Gorodetsky was known for his versatility and ability to work with different architectural styles, from Art Nouveau to Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance.
In recent years, the House with Chimaeras has been carefully restored. It now serves as a proper venue for the President of Ukraine, hosting official events and meetings with foreign dignitaries. The building remains a significant cultural and architectural landmark, reflecting both the genius of its creator and the artistic heritage of Kyiv.