Julia Morton’s mansion is not considered as one of the most impressive buildings on Marazlievskaya Street, but its refinement and subtle blend of styles always attract attention. Moreover, it is one of the oldest buildings in the street
Type of building: mansion, apartment house
Style: eclecticism, blending of Baroque and Renaissance motifs
Architect: D. E. Mazirov
Date of construction: 1886
Status: local architectural monument
In 1886 Marazlievskaya Street replenished another mansion. The building was constructed by an architect of Armenian origin D. E. Mazirov for Julia Stepanovna Morton (1858 -?), who was probably the daughter of Odessa wealthy entrepreneur and noble Stepan Ivanovich Rally.
S. I. Rally owned a plot nearby the Sabanskiy barracks on Kanatnaya Street. Julia Morton was 28 years old when she came into possession of the mansion in which, most likely, lived her entire family. Unlike S. I. Rally that had some apartment houses Morton owned only one house on Marazlievskaya Street. The architect Demosthenes Mazirov, at the time of the construction of the mansion, had to his credit, besides a number of reconstructed buildings , a small number of refined buildings designed for Vurgavt, Mavrokordato, Lipman-Wolf and Richter. The buildings were characterized by vivid performance, the use of Neo-Baroque elements and a good spatial composition. On the contrary, the mansion of Morton was executed in more restrained Renaissance motifs that, however, was compensated by a careful approach to the tectonics of the building.
The house is distinguished by pronounced asymmetry in the plan and design. The mansion built with a space from an adjacent area that might have been empty at the time of its construction. However, between the buildings there was an insert with a passage arch at the ground floor level and with rooms on the first floor. An emphasis is made on a corner rounded part of the building and, owing to the fact, the decoration manner of the main facade is changing in the horizontal direction. There are two shallow risalits from the main facade side. Left one, with two window axis width is narrower, and creates stress on the left side edge of the facade plane. Along the edges of the risalit on the first floor there are Doric order pilasters. On the same floor, but in the center, in a window pier, there is a sculpture of a caryatid, which reproduces exactly the sculpture in a building designed by the architect V. Kabiolskiy on 36, Marazlievskaya Street and 16, Sadovaya Street. This sculpture is somewhat balances the facade, contrasting the left side, overloaded by elements, with the right side of the facade. Close to the round corner of the building there is a wider risalit, in width of three window axis. In piers between the windows of the first floor Corinthian order pilasters are located.
Decoration of the first floor facade
The main entrance is located asymmetrically in the risalit at its left edge. Decoration of the main entrance is fully preserved, including the original door (a simpler version of it can be seen in the house of M. Katsnelson on 26, Marazlievskaya Street) and ornate metal canopy on the thin cast columns.
The risalit is also emphasized by an arched attic ledge that runs around the perimeter of all facades facing the street, and is solid in the areas of risalits, in other parts it represents a balustrade. The storeys of the building contrasted with each other, only the second floor is richly decorated, where there is a large number of small stucco mouldings and ornaments, as well as mentioned above caryatid, pilasters and half-columns. The ground floor is decorated with only rusticated pilaster strips and balustrades in the panels of the windows.
Pilaster strips of the ground floor windows
Basement floor is also residential and decorated simply with linear rustic stone. Basement floor windows have bow-shaped apertures and are decorated by locks.
The facade of the building is equipped with a balcony only, which, however, is of considerable size. It begins at the edge of a large risalit, passes through it, the corner part and the insert to the firewall of the neighboring building. The fence is a patterned metal grate on stone props, but the authenticity of the existing balcony railings is questionable. To the right of the rounded corner at the end of XX — beginning of XXI century the terrace on the base with metal trusses that support part of the balcony was attached. Passage arch is adorned with decorative frame in Baroque style, on a compositional level its principle of indentation from the building line of the street has something in common with passage arches of the other two houses on Marazlievskaya Street — E. Petrova’s (1901) house at number 36 and the neighboring apartment building Vassal (1902-1912), which occupies plot number 38.
A courtyard facade has an expressed play of volumes and asymmetry: approximately in the center there is a trapezoidal risalit, hiding a service metal spiral staircase, perfectly preserved, and having access to both floors and the attic.
Bay window of the courtyard facade
A service staircase is lit by narrow windows located on all faces of the risalit, at the top these windows are arched. At the right from the mentioned risalit there is a less deep but wider trapezoidal bay window which has wide windows and corners decorated with Tuscan order columns. At the left on the roof of the building there is an authentic semi mansard, which is only accessible with the service staircase. The service staircase leads to the basement apartments as well.
The main entrance was gaily decorated originally, corresponding to the external appearance of the building, but the supposed building paintings were painted over, also two Ionic columns capitals flanking the aperture between the lobby and staircase were damaged — volutes at the outer sides of them were broken off. A lobby ceiling is shaped cross vaults; above the entrance to the staircase the ceiling is flat and decorated with panels. Between the walls and vaults there is a moulded cornice, supported by the mentioned columns and decorative consoles.
Ceiling of the ground floor landing
On the landing of the ground floor on both sides there are living quarters doors, most likely for rent, here is the entrance to the mansion lobby. Stairs leading to the first floor has in plan refined horseshoe bend and, despite the relatively small size, looks very impressive.
Main staircase and a lobby
Railings are artsy interlacement of simple geometric figures: the primary motif is a circle and a composition of circles and scrolls. Railings variety is very rare, and if reproduced anywhere, is not known.
A ceiling beam rests on two columns, crowned with Corinthian order capitals, made in free plastic interpretation.
The first floor landing once represented a large gala room, part of which had to be sacrificed in the redevelopment of the mansion during the Soviet era and division into communal apartments. Hence, through a small narrow corridor, one can get on the service staircase, described earlier.
References and Archives
- «Rally». An article in the newspaper Odessa World News number 74 (3.11.2009). S. G. Rechetov
*Directory and reference book «All Odessa», 1908, L. А. Lisyanskiy
- «Architects of Odessa». V. Pilyavsky
- «Architecture of Odessa. Style and time». V. Pilyavsky
- «Buildings, structures, monuments of Odessa and architects». V. Pilyavsky
- Статья о доме в блоге Antique