One of the most little-studied buildings of an architect E. Y. Mesner in Odessa at the current address 5, Lermontovskiy Lane has been preserved perfectly well, but it is not known to the general public because of a very bad field of view from the street.
Type of building: mansion
Style: Art Nouveau, brick style, pseudo-Gothic style
Architect: E. Y. Mesner
Date of construction: 1913 (?)
Status: not detected
According to reference books of Odessa homeowners during the first half of the 1910s, the building was located on a site owned by E. Y. Mesner. Hence, the construction is nothing but the own house of the architect. Boundaries of the sites are not very clearly marked, and the likelihood of errors in attribution is big enough. The property of Mesner borders sites of Radbil (no initials) and P. W. Klein, but the buildings located on them have not reached this day.
The mansion in 5, Lermontov Lane has stylistic similarity with another building in the neighboring area «Otrada», probably also designed by E. Y. Mesner — an apartment house of E. Fesenko (the authorship is ascribed to L. F. Prokopovich in some sources). The apparent likeness of two houses is, first of all, in brick fasciae, rounding bow-shaped window openings and high Gothic gables with lancet niches, and initially unplastered facades (in accordance with fashion trends of «brick style» at the beginning of the XX century).
The mansion of Mesner is a small one-storey (with a basement) building, moved back deep into the site and the L-shaped in plan. The fence from the lane side was irrevocably spoilt over the past century by reconstructions and installation of a high solid metal gate, but one of the sections, fortunately was preserved, allowing us to form an idea of the lost. A lattice of the preserved section is a fine example of retrospective Art Nouveau of the 1910s, an implementation subtlety of a flowing tissue from a single profile impresses especially.
Against the background of a large number of blind spots in the history of the house there is a possibility that the remaining fragment of the fence does not belong to the house number 5, but to an adjacent site, which structures have not reached these days.
A utility wing (belonging Mesner’s site remains in doubt), outgoing by the side of the building at the building line of the lane was preserved in a highly distorted and reconstructed state. One of its walls, which window openings are now boarded up, preserved ornaments of Obrist typical for Art Nouveau in piers.
The house itself was preserved best of all. It almost was not touched by reconstructions, and the façade has reached these days in virtually unchanged state. A compositional dominant of the wing, parallel to the building line, is a massive in proportions risalit, of two windows axes width, shifted almost to the edge of the facade plane and topped with a high gable — the only detail that is visible from the street.
A small terrace on a high pedestal with a stone balustrade adjoins the risalit from the right. Further, right next to it, a porch with an entrance to the house, preserved the original door of eclectic style with oblong glazed openings in the leaves, was arranged. In the pedestal of the terrace a large semi-circular basement window, which, together with the balustrade and terrace creates a spectacular and picturesque composition, is located.
Terrace and porch
The interior decoration of the mansion was almost lost. Almost square in plan, a small entrance hall leads to two habitable rooms on both sides. The house is decorated with a great restraint: stucco decor is almost completely absent, and most of the decorative elements are made of brick. The gable is crowned by an original weather vane (one of the few remaining in Odessa since pre-revolutionary times), and large figured chimneys, enriching the silhouette of the building in no small measure, are clearly visible on the lean-to roof.
One of the flues
On the whole, despite being located in the prestigious area «Langeron», the mansion can be attributed more to the low-cost and not respectable housing. However, a modest one-storey building has a memorable look and appears to be a durable and reliable construction.
References and Archives
- Article about the house in Antique blog