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On April 13, 2010 a meeting regarding the present condition of the architectural monument of the world significance, the radio-broadcasting tower in Shabolovka Street, Moscow – the Shukhov Tower — took place in the Committee for the cultural heritage of Moscow.
The meeting was summoned on the initiative of the Committee for the cultural heritage of Moscow in connection with the critical condition of the unit and non-execution of commitments on its timely repair and restoration by the owner – the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation represented by its dependent organization FGUP “Rossiyskaya televizionnaya i radioveshatelnaya set” (FGUP “RTRS”).
The meeting was attended by the representatives of all the interested parties, including the representatives of the leading scientific-research institutes of Russia in the field of steel structures, as well as by the owners of the adjacent territories.
The meeting in “Moskomnasledie” revealed that the opinions of two expert organizations that carried out the analysis of the Shukhov Tower differ from each other in essence!
While the representative of TsNIISK after V.A. Kucherenko, who conducted the expertise on the order of the Ministry of communications, considers the condition of the tower quite passable, the experts of TsNIIPSK after N.P.Melnikov, who conducted regular inspections of the Tower starting from the moment of its commissioning, consider that the condition of structures is close to critical and the level of crevice corrosion of some elements exceeds all the permissible norms and is very dangerous.
Furthermore, a special concern at the meeting in “Moskomnasledie” was aroused by the statement of the FGUP “RTRS” representatives about the lack of necessary financing to conduct the repair.
Taking into consideration the world significance of the V.G. Shukhov’s hyperboloid lattice tower in Moscow and the concern regarding its destiny on the part of the leading Russian and foreign specialists, architects and representatives of the public at large, Valery Shevchuk, chairman of the Moscow committee for the cultural heritage, during the meeting backed up the initiative of the “Shukhov Tower” Foundation and made a decision to create an independent international commission to study the condition of the tower and prepare a necessary technical assignment on its repair and restoration.
However, on April 16 INTERFAX.RU published the statement of Elena Lakshina, assistant of Igor Shchyogolev, the Minister of Communications and Mass Media, in which she declared that the Ministry of connections and mass communications of the Russian Federation had found means to conduct the analysis and expertise of the condition of the historical monument – the Shukhov Tower – “not from the federal budget, not from the Shukhov Foundation, even not from “Moskomnasledie”, but from FGUP “Rossiyskaya televizionnaya i radioveshatelnaya set” (FGUP “RTRS”)”.
Moreover, according to INTERFAX.RU Elena Lakshina also declared: “Through long inter-department agreements there will be no chance to get money on the restoration of the Shukhov Tower from the federal budget in 2010. The necessary condition for allotting means is the conduction of expertise of the condition of the Shukhov Tower, which, as a matter of fact, RTRS has already done at its own expense”… “on the basis of the received data by the end of the year there will prepared a project of works on the preservation of the tower as a historical monument, which is to be agreed with the Moscow committee for the protection of cultural heritage”.
“Before April 20 RTRS should organize work to conclude contracts on the development of the project-estimate documents for the repair-and-restoration works at the unit of cultural heritage – The Shukhov Tower”.
First of all, it is surprising that in spite of the State Duma resolution from 2003 (No. 4415-III), which indicates that the structures built according to the projects of the Great Russian engineer V.G. Shukhov must be preserved, and organizations, in whose authority the units are under, must make any possible effort to maintain their proper condition, during seven years neither RTRS, in whose authority the tower is under, nor the Ministry of connections have undertaken any serious practical steps to fulfill this resolution!
The statement that means for expertise are found not in the federal budget, not in the “Shukhov Tower” Foundation and even not in “Moskomnasledie”, but in FGUP “Rossiyskaya televizionnaya i radioveshatelnaya set” (FGUP “RTRS”) also seams strange.
It is the direct duty of an owner to conduct timely expertise and repair of the unit of the federal property which he was trusted with!
But a special concern is aroused by the fact that the Ministry of connections actually still does not want to conduct an independent international expertise!
Even more surprise is aroused by how “before April 20 RTRS should organize work to conclude contracts on the development of the project-estimate documents for the repair-and-restoration works at the unit of cultural heritage – The Shukhov Tower”. As since the conclusions of several expert scientific and research institutes have big differences, the conclusion of only one organization, which RTRS possesses, in this case may not be a ground to prepare the project-estimate documents!
Also, the majority of specialists believe that the foundation of the tower should in any case be opened to determine the degree of corrosion of the metal inside the concrete ring, laid over the main foundation! This concrete ring does not meet the principles put by V.G. Shukhov during the construction of the Tower, and it was added later. The issue of removing the concrete that favors the corrosion of the Tower foundation elements may become quite appropriate.
Nobody has made laser scanning of the Tower structure in order to build a mathematic model of its deformations and tension degree of some of the Tower units and elements, as well as of the possible deflection of the structure from vertical axis, which is the world standard when conducting the expertise of high-rising units.
When building a reliable model of the Tower tensions one needs the results of testing the corroded fragments of the structure on strength (tensile, bending) done in special laboratories. The laboratory examination of some Tower units, damaged by the crevice corrosion, is also needed.
The conduction of works on the Shukhov Tower according to a project developed without prior examination of the degree of crevice corrosion of the unit elements and without a mathematic model of the structure tensions made on the basis of the Tower laser scanning with due regard for the results of the examination of corrosion creates a threat that some structures of the Tower and of the architectural monument as a whole may be destroyed during the repair.
FGUP RTRS representatives do not say a word about the restoration of the initial Shukhov’s appearance of the Tower and the removing of all the additional elements installed on it during the years of its operation, on which especially insist the Russian and foreign specialists and architects!
The “Shukhov Tower” Foundation considers the present approach of the Ministry of connections to the issue of preserving the unit of the cultural heritage of the world level – the Shukhov Tower – unacceptable and urges all the state structures, public and commercial organizations, private persons to support the initiative of “Moskomnasledie” and the “Shukhov Tower” Foundation to carry out an urgent independent international expertise of the condition of the unique structure!
The intermediate and final results of the expertise must be available to the public at large by way of placing them on the websites of “Moskomnasledie” and “Shukhov Tower” Foundation.
On the basis of the conducted expertise the international commission must prepare a technical assignment on the repair works and only after that it will be possible to speak about preparing the project-estimate documents!
The conclusions of the international commission must also comprise recommendations about regulation works in the future. In this issue the experience of France in preserving the Eiffel Tower in Paris is very significant.
Only a serious scientific approach of this kind with the use of the up-to-date knowledge and experience of the Russian and foreign specialists will permit to optimize the expenses on the repair and restoration of the Shukhov Tower and to be confident in its further destiny!
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