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16.03.2012

Shukhov Tower by Shabolovskaya metro station will be 90 years old on March 19 and it has never undergone a serious restoration. For more than 20 years, the radio tower has not been protected from corrosion, and it is clearly visible, and unless something is done urgently, Russia could lose one of its unique monuments, said the president of the Shukhovskaya Tower Fund, Vladimir Shukhov, the architect’s great-grandson.

 
Fix it or destroy it – Shukhov

Shukhov argued that some decision has to be made about the tower – either to take it down, or to repair it.

“If the tower is not sorted out by Shukhov’s 160th anniversary, which will be celebrated next year, and real professional and international work on it has not started, then it is easier to make the decision to demolish this tower, so it is not disgrace my ancestors, nor our country,” Shukhov told RIA Novosti.

And while the tower cannot actually be legally demolished without the prime minister’s decision, its fate is unclear.

Helicopter examination

The tower will be examined with the help of an unmanned helicopter, in order to create a 3D model with all the distortions that have developed over time. “The project will cost 2 million euros. It is being financed by foreign institutes who work in the fields of physics, engineering and architecture,” Shukhov said.

The examination will take place in early June, and has been nearly completely approved by the authorities.

No concrete plans

Russia’s Radio and Television Network (RTRS) has sent a contract to City Hall, but they still cannot say whether it will be a restoration, or reconstruction.

However, Shukhov stressed that a physical examination of the tower was also necessary, and that some metallic parts would have to be taken down for analysis. Results of examination by RTRS, who owns the tower, showed that the tower was in no danger. An independent expertise, however, showed completely the opposite.

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 anything.

“No one wants to make any decisions. The tower stands [there] like a reproach – like in the Soviet times, when it appeared despite everything, now remains standing despite the fact that it has never been seriously restored, just painted a little, had a concrete base made, something was welded to it. They only made it worse, actually,” Shukhov said.

Tower should be a tourist centre

At the moment the tower is closed to the public, and is only used as a relay station for mobile phone networks.

Shukhov’s fund proposes to make the unique tower a tourist center, like the Eiffel tower in Paris or the falling tower of Pisa. The fund calls for a creation of a museum, exhibition center, engineering club, a café, and a restaurant.
 
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