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Moscow’s Shukhov tower saved from demolition

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The iconic Shabolovka radio tower in Moscow has been saved from demolition after leading architects rallied together to save it

Moscow City Hall has put the 1922 tower on its protected landmark list placing a protection order on the Soviet landmark.

The order protects the structure’s materials, architectural composition, and structural elements, while preventing the tower from being moved or reassembled elsewhere.

The move will stop plans by the Russian State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting to dismantle the 50-storey steel structure.

The plans had sparked a number of top architects and critics, including Tadao Ando, Rem Koolhaas, Kengo Kuma and Phyllis Lambert, to sign a petition which suggested the 1922 tower, designed by the engineer Vladimir Shuklov was the ‘work of a genius’ and should not be demolished.

Commenting on the tower’s protection, architecture critic Phyllis Lambert, said: ‘At last the Shukov Tower has been placed on the conservation list by Moscow’s City Hall and is no longer threatened by demolition. This is a key step for this remarkable structural work of art! It is so on many levels. Its brilliant designer and entrepreneur, Vladimir Shukov, is the Gustave Eiffel of Russia.

‘Like the county courthouse when the United States was created, the tower is a manifestation of a new public function, a dream of openness, spreading the news. The ingenious structure is composed of four hyperboloids - essentially trusses - each diminishing in width. They were made on the ground and then placed one on top of the other to form a light and supremely elegant tapering tower rising150 meters. This landmark seen from all over Moscow highlights Russian ingenuity. The work of conservation must now begin.’

Designed by Vladimir Shukhov, the conical-shaped structure was commissioned by Lenin to spread the word of communism through radio technology, later becoming an icon of the communist regime.

Previous story (AJ 18.03.14)

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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Readers' comments (1)

  • Hooray!
    Visited it last month and got within 10 metres of its base, trespassing in a neighbouring compound.. One of the must-sees of a visit to Moscow.

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