Use of Building
Like so many of the buildings constructed during the Oil Boom era, little information is readily available about how this building was used through the upheavals and reversals of political systems this past century - when Azerbaijan was under the Russian czar (until 1918), when it gained its independence for a short period (1918-1920), when Bolsheviks seized power and the Soviet government was established (1920-1991), and finally when Azerbaijan regained its independence (late 1991 - present).
When Bolsheviks took control of Baku in 1920, Budagov, like many other businessmen who had the financial capability, fled to Europe. Budagov ended up in France. We don't know the specific history of this building, but it seems that Budagov's residence was not like the majority of buildings in Baku and was not split into numerous apartments where the tenants were put into the nightmarish position of having to share their bathrooms and kitchens as communal rooms with other families - a situation absolutely guaranteed to create tension among even the most tolerant of neighbors. At least, the first floor of this building seems to have been left intact and not destroyed as much as others usually were when the Bolsheviks came.
Budagov's house has a very rich, ornamental interior. The ceilings and walls are decorated with artistic stucco in the Western Baroque style - notably, with cherubs and garlands of flowers in hues of pastel pink and yellow. Elaborate chandeliers and a ceramic tile fireplace also adorn the room.
The second room (now being used as a bedroom) resembles the Eastern style. Walls and ceiling are covered with lavish ornamentation from floor to ceiling. Even the corners where the angles of the walls meet, have decorative borders running from floor to ceiling. Every inch of space is covered with decoration, to the extent that it would be hard to imagine hanging even a single art painting on the wall. The style somehow is reminiscent of an Oriental carpet with borders of intricate design juxtaposed against each other. Again the coloring is pastel, primarily peach tones with accents in pastel turquoise, pink and purple with narrow strips of accents in darker red.
Obviously, the rooms have been totally remodeled. It's difficult to say by looking whether these colors are original or not. The colored ceramics of the fireplace - shades of peach and olive - would suggest that, perhaps, they are slightly different than what the original owner knew.
Note the repetition of various shapes, especially diamonds and medallions. On the ceiling, you'll find elaborate use of the star motif - both with six points (Jewish star of David), two six - pointed stars overlapping each other. Also there is ample use of an eight - pointed star, symbol of Islam (the eight gates of Paradise) .
These days, part of the ground floor is being rented by a Chinese company, after having been refurbished by the owner.
As the rooms featured here on the first floor of this building are being used as an office for a private company, access is not likely available to the general public.
Back to Index AI 13.2 (Summer 2005)
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