Frants Osipovich Shekhtel (1859-1926)
He was born in St. Petersburg. His education in architecture is incomplete. When he was young he was a stage-painter and a book designer. Author of numerous mansion, pavilions at international exibitions, industrial buildings and structures. The Yaroslavsky Railway Station in Moscow is constructed to his design. In his creative activity he gave preference to the Russian Style, Gothic and Art Nouveau.
At the end of the 19th century Moscow architecture was marked by a medley of different styles. Against the background of overall eclecticism, an interesting trend in architecture - "art nouveau" - took shape. The ar chitect F.0. Shekhtel, one of the new style's better-known ad herents, designed many buildings in Moscow which was growing rapidly at the time, railway stations, banks, apartment houses, printshops, mansions. His best works include the man sion of the industrialist Ryabushinsky built in 1900-1902. Shekhtel's rational and severe version of art nouveau later provided the groundwork for the rise of another trend - constructivism.
In designing the Ryabushinsky mansion, Shekhtel departed from the Russian architectural tradition of emphasizing the facade; instead, he arranged the planes in such a way that they added up to a three-dimensional whole. Their configuration is such that a casual observer is at a loss to say how many storeys the building has. The enormous irregularly-shaped windows with transoms like curved tree-branches are at different levels. The interior layout is also governed by new laws. The rooms are not lined up in a habitual suite, but grouped around the front staircase. The architect took the functional purpose of every room into account, and saw to the residents' comfort. At the same time he paid great attention to interior decoration. Everything - banisters, the fireplace, archways, furniture, door handles - is of an exquisite and ingenious design; all the decorative elements, however, have a dynamic shape in com mon. They flow and move to a fanciful musical rhythm.
Shekhtel took an unorthodox approach to the selection of building and decoration materials as well. He made an Innova tive use of mosaic tiles in creating a quaint frieze on the facade; of glazed bricks' in facing the outer walls; of reinforced con crete, plate glass panes and metal. The principles he worked out later became standard practice in industrial construction. The mansion has survived to this day in all its original beauty. Maxim Corky lived there in the thirties, and later a museum was installed here to commemorate the writer.