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20.03.2012

TV "Russia Today", 20.03.2011:   One of Moscow's most eye-catching landmarks, the Shukhov Television Tower is celebrating 90 years since its construction. RT has climbed on top of the engineering marvel that nearly a century later remains at the forefront of architecture.

Built between 1919-1922 by the great Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov, the broadcasting tower was commissioned by Lenin to adorn his “brave new world”, a phrase often associated with the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and the social order that succeeded it.

Ninety years on, this radio tower is considered one of the world’s most remarkable achievements in architecture and engineering art – a beautifully designed tower in desperate need of restoration.

“First and foremost, the tower has to be protected against corrosion,”Sergey Arseniev, executive director of the Shukhov Tower Foundation, told RT.“We have made repeated calls to have that problem resolved. A restoration of the tower must begin with an examination by international experts. But so far, no such examination has taken place.”

The problem is not so much the architecture of the tower, thanks to the perfect mathematical formula of the hyperboloid. Due to its lattice structure, the steel shell of the Shukhov Tower experiences minimum wind load, the main hazard for high-rising buildings.

Shukhov was the first in the world to invent and use in construction the lattice metal shells in the form of hanging and arch-shaped overhead covers and hyperboloid towers.

Amazingly, the tower was built without using scaffolds and cranes. The upper sections were assembled inside the lower one, lifted and put one on top of the other. The tower and its engineering has been the catalyst for many contemporary buildings around the world.

The twisted shape of the Canton Tower in Guangzhou in China corresponds to the Russian Empire patent no.1896, dated March 12, 1899 received by Vladimir Shukhov, while some architectural experts say that the Gherkin at 30 St. Mary Axe in London, has design components inspired by the Shukhov Tower.

“Sometimes people don’t even know the system was invented by Shukhov, because it surrounds us every day. A lot of architects have used his ideas,”
Marina Khrustaleva, from the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society, told RT.

At the moment, the tower is closed to the public, and is only used as a relay station for mobile phone networks. The Shukhov Tower foundation proposes to make the unique tower a tourist attraction.

One reason it is taking so long to get a decision on the restoration of the tower is that part of the buildings around the tower belongs to the federal government, and part belongs to Moscow City Hall, so it is difficult to agree on anything.

However, this has not stopped several concepts being put together by Russian and international engineers and architects. In fact, the tower is at the top of UNESCO's endangered buildings list, and there is an international campaign to save it.
 
 
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