Fedor Osipovich Shekhtel'


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Russian architect. He was an important designer of buildings in the Art Nouveau style, and also exploited iron, glass, and reinforced concrete in his works which include the sumptuous Gothic Revival house for Z. G. Morozova, Spiridonovka Street, Moscow (1893–6—very badly damaged by fire, 1995). He was responsible for the Russian Pavilions (which drew on traditional roof-forms to some extent, and were regarded as ‘barbaric’ by those who saw them) for the International Exhibition in Glasgow (1901), and the following year he was the leading light behind the ‘New Style’ Exhibition in Moscow (1902–3), where designs by Mackintosh and Olbrich (among others) were shown. At the same time he designed the Yaroslavl′ Railway Station, Moscow (1902–3), a curious mixture of Art Nouveau details, vaguely Historicist roof-forms, and Classicism, that was rather ungainly taken as a whole. His Mansions for S. P. Ryabushinsky, Malaya Nikitskaya (1900–2), and A. I. Derozhinskaya, Shtatny Lane (1901–2), both in Moscow, stand favourable comparison with any other comparable European work of the time. The former has an extraordinary Art Nouveau staircase and hall around which the house is planned, and the latter has elements drawn from Gothic, the Vienna Sezession, and especially motifs favoured by Otto Wagner and his circle. The last influence was overt in the Villa Kshesinskaya, St Petersburg (1904–6). The newspaper offices for Utro Rossii, Moscow (1907), also had Viennese flavours. Much of his work immediately before the 1914–18 war was elegant and sometimes austere, while around 1910 he began to introduce a severe Neo-Classicism to Moscow (e.g. his own house, Bol′shaya Sadovaya (1909–10) and the headquarters of the Trading Society (1909–11). More than 50 fine buildings by him survived the Soviet regime, but are under threat from the need for office-accommodation in Moscow.

Borisova & Kazhdan (1971);Kirichenko (1975);Placzek (ed.) (1982);PoA, xxiv (Aug.–Sept. 1996), 58–61;Raeburn (ed.) (1991);Jane Turner (1996)

Subjects: Architecture.

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