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House with Chimaeras in Kiev
The House With Chimeras
The House with Chimeras, also known as Horodetsky House, was built in 1903. Located on 10 Bankova Street, it has been President Victor Yushchenko's official residence since 2005.
Being the most notable example of Art Nouveau in Ukraine and the Ukrainian capital's first "roofless" house, it was designed by architect Vladyslav Horodetsky, often called Kyiv's Gaudí. He lived and worked in it for ten years, between 1903 and 1913. Horodetsky bought a cheap plot on a steep slope and made a bet with architect Oleksandr Skobelyev he would build a house on it. Skobelyev exclaimed, "You are insane, my friend. Only an insane person could have such an idea!" Horodetsky, however, won the bet. He used the relatively small site rationally and bolstered the abrupt incline with fifty concrete piles. The cubic building has three floors on Bankova Street and six on the side of the Ivan Franko Theatre. Its facades are very eclectic and contain various hunting scenes depicting exotic animals, as Horodetsky was an avid hunter.
The Italian sculptor Emilio Salya made both the internal and external sculptural decorations, such as mermaids, dolphins and frogs on the roof, sinking ships and hunting trophies on the exterior walls, and exuberant interior ornaments.
There were two stables, two rooms for coachmen, a laundry and two apartments on the lowest level of the building, which is located deep into the hill. Each of the two apartments consisted of a foyer, a kitchen, a bathroom and a larder. Each floor above the lowest level was designed for one apartment only.
The building was nationalized after the 1917 October Revolution. There was a clinic for the Communist elite in it for many years after World War II.
The Horodetsky House was restored between 1998 and 2004. Some of its floors are used for ceremonial purposes by President Yushchenko and some as offices for his protocol service. The restored building has a room where ambassadors present their credentials to the president, a room to sign official documents, a small room for negotiations, a room for tête-à-tête talks, a pressroom, and a room for receptions.