Gorodetsky built the Chimeras House as a traditional for that time dokhodny dom - a house for profit and/or rent. It’s one of the “transformer houses” – four stories from one side (Bankova St.) and six – from the garden. The non-traditional part was that everything was built from the new then material - cement.
Gorodetsky was one of the outstanding hunters of his time. His hobby had a direct influence on the house’s décor. Though called “the chimeras house,” it in reality has none. Instead, you can see huge frogs on cornices, heads of rhinoceros on the façade, and elephants heads greeting you at the entrance. The roof corners are decorated with dolphins, carrying mermaids. You can also see lizards who look like about to run up on the columns (all outside sculptures by Italian bothers Sala).
In addition, Gorodetsky spent a fortune for lavish inside decoration, which included wood-covered walls, the Carrara marble staircase, parquet and modeling.
Depending on the number of rooms (2, 3, 6, 8, 13) and conveniences, the annual rent in the house ranged from 420 to 3,500 rubles. Gorodetsky and his family occupied a 13-room apartment on the fourth floor.
One story tells, that hunting turned to be not only the inspiration for Gorodetsky, but it became the reason for the losing the house. In fall 1911, Gorodetsky used the house as a collateral for his safari trip to Africa. Upon return, he was not able to pay it back so in 1913 it was sold to another owner. The house has had many owners since. In the Soviet time, it was turned into the policlinic for the Communist nomenclature. After the restoration in 2002, the house currently serves as the reception hall for the president when meeting foreign dignitaries. There are hopes that one day the PA will spare some days (per month or year) for the guided tours.
the Chimeras House is one of the Kyiv’s architectural landmarks. Many stories and legends add charm and more mystery to the house.
One story says, that Solovtsov, the Theatre Director, was very much concerned about the sliding slope above his theatre (currently Ivan Franko theatre). The hill was indeed very difficult and no one for a long time wanted to build anything on it. In one of the parties, Solovtsov in the conversation with Kobelev, another famous architect of the time, complaining about the slope said that none of Kyiv architects are able to build the house on the hill that would last at least 20 years. Gorodetsky, who happened to stay nearby, heard this conversation, and this is how the famous bet has been made. Gorodetsky and Kobelev made a 20,000 rub bet that the former in two years will build a house that would last at least 20 years. Gorodetsky won the bet by building an estonishing house in 1903 and collected his money in 20ies.
One of the most interesting buildings in Kiev is located in a very quiet and peaceful part of the downtown.. A well-known archetect Horodetsky built the house as a private residence in 1903 for his 40th birthday, having claimed that he would manage to finish it in 2 years. And he won the bet!.
Horodetskiy was a devoted hunter and daydreamer. That is the only explanation for such a strange facade. The walls and the roof of the structure are decorated with intricate sculptural ornaments of myphological and hunting themes. Heads of antelopes, rhinoceros and elephants are carved into the walls of the building while the roof is decorated with mermaids astride dolphins, awful snakes and giant toads; all made of concrete. The building is considered one of the most fascinating architectural creations in Kiev.
The House of Chimeras (Horodetskyi building) is situated directly in front of the Administration of the President of Ukraine and hence may be difficult to take photos from the street side.
Very impressive, beautiful building decorated with the fantastic and 'chimeric' figures,, elephants' hears, mermaids, frogs, griffons. It was built in the beginning of XX century by Kyiv architect Wladislaw Gorodetski. He was fun of hunting and realised its fantasies in these quaint figures of fairytale animals