The Horodecki House (also known as the House with Chimaeras or the Gorodetsky House) is an incredibly fanciful building that sits across from the presidential palace in Kyiv. There’s so much going on here with it – to start, it is essentially a Ukrainian response to Gaudi. Art Nouveau, multi-layered and designed, with animals, plants, and other organic elements merging with busy rococo-ish elements.
The history of this building is also incredible – designed in 1902 by Władysław Horodecki, a Polish architect, it was intended to be sold as luxury apartments. Horodecki’s debts led to changes of ownership, including by a sugar factory, and during the Communist era, the building was carved up into smaller communal apartments, used as a refuge for evacuated actors, abandoned during WWII, and used as a medical clinic until 2002. The building had almost split it half at its foundations by that time, and the restorers had to threaten to board the medical clinic in to obtain the space for restoration. It eventually was fully restored to Horodecki’s original plans, and is used today for presidential and official capacities.
It came back into the limelight this spring during the Russian invasion, with Zelenskyy using it as a background in his videos announcing he was staying in Kyiv and calling on Ukrainians to resist.
You can walk through it on streetview, and I’d really recommend taking the time to look at the details – the frogs lining the rooftop parapets, or the flowers and tentacles emerging from ceiling chandeliers.