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Architects call on Putin to save Russian broadcast tower

Architects have called for a rethink over the demolition of the iconic Shabolovka radio tower in Moscow

A number of top architects including Tadao Ando, Rem Koolhaas, Elizabeth Diller, Odile Decq, Kengo Kuma, and Phyllis Lambert have signed the petition which suggested the 1922 tower, designed by the engineer Vladimir Shuklov was the ‘work of a genius’ and should not be demolished.

Last month the Russian State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting agreed to dismantle the 50–story conical steel structure which was commissioned by Lenin to spread the word of communism through radio technology, later becoming an icon of the communist regime.

The letter and accompanying petition sent to Russian president Vladimir Putin, stated: ‘The Shabolovka Radio Tower, the largest such structure ever built, remains as Vladimir Shukhov’s masterpiece and his monument. It is one of the emblems of Moscow, and one of the superlative engineering feats of the twentieth century, still influencing and enriching technical and architectural ideas globally. Yet this masterpiece, featured in all the histories of engineering and architecture, is now threatened with being torn down in order to be replaced by new construction.’

The chief architect of Moscow, Sergey Kuznetsov, has suggested the tower, which is often dubbed the ‘Russian Eiffel Tower’, could be rebuilt elsewhere. Yet the open letter argues that dismantling the tower could be hazardous with ‘no guarantee of reconstruction being possible’.

The petition has also called for the iconic structure to be nominated for the World Heritage List.

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