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Samuely's past could unlock the Soviet Skylon


There might just be a connection between the Soviet Skylon (Nick Coombe's letter, AJ 22.4.04) and London's South Bank.

Felix Samuely was in Moscow in about 1931-33, involved in the design of various structures, mainly steelworks, but also on a 'hammer factory, for Magnetogorsk'.

After fleeing Nazi Germany, Samuely came to London and (among other things) taught structures at the AA, where his pupils included Powell and Moya.

In the paper that he wrote for the Institution of Civil Engineers to document the engineering of the Skylon, Samuely states:

'It is remarkable that the architects [designed] an engineering structure without the aid of an engineer, ' so he clearly got involved after the competition had been won by Powell and Moya - but it might be interesting to know what examples Samuely used for his lectures and who he met in Russia.

In checking our archives, I came across the original calculations for the Skylon - and Jonathan Pritchard, who did them, is very much alive and well. I have kept the calculations to hand, ready for the phone call asking us to get going on checking the structure to modern standards.

Tom Schollar, managing director, F J Samuely and Partners, London WC1N

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