Shukhov Radio Tower, Moscow

Shukhov Radio Tower Moscow, Russia Skyscraper Building, High Rise Architecture

Shukhov Radio Tower, Moscow

Russian Tall Building Demolition – High Rise Engineering in Shabolovka

18 Mar 2014

Shukhov Tower in Moscow

Design: Vladimir Shukhov, engineer

Height: 160 metres

Date: 1929

Location: Shabolovka, Moscow, Russia

In a country of once-futuristic relics, Moscow’s Shukhov Radio Tower stands alone, and it stands taller than nearly anything else, reports A 50-story conical structure of steel latticework designed by the legendary engineer Vladimir Shukhov, the tower looks like a giant collapsable telescope. However, plans are firming up for its demolition.

The hyperbolic tower was designed and constructed by the great Russian engineer and scientist Vladimir Shukhov (1853-1939) in 1929 on the Oka River.

Shukhov Tower in Moscow
photo : Sergey Norin

But it’s days as a signal tower and a defining icon of Soviet modernism are numbered. Over nine decades after it opened, on March 19, 1922, concerns that the aging, long-neglected relic is unstable have led to plans to demolish it. Last month, after years of back and forth, the Russian State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting agreed to the dismantling of the tower with the hope of possibly reconstructing it elsewhere.

Opponents of the demolition have come out in force to decry the plan as a threat to an architectural treasure and a cynical bid to redevelop the area, in a residential part of the bustling neighborhood of Shabolovka. The architect’s great-grandson, also named Vladimir Shukhov, has led a campaign to suggest an alternate method of restoration that would leave the tower intact, reinforcing points of structural weakness without tearing it down. Even if the tower were to be moved, architects have said that that would ruin essential details in Shukhov’s original design.

Oka Shukhov Tower:
Oka Shukhov Tower
photograph : Nik Kosov

The Russian Ministry of Culture has also agreed that demolition would violate the tower’s protected status as a cultural monument. “The government’s actions just show the law isn’t important in Russia,” Shukhov’s great-grandson says, according to The Calvert Journal, a Russian cultural magazine.

Historian Jean-Louis Cohen and photographer Richard Pare, who have extensively documented the Soviet Union’s architectural modernism, have also drafted a petition to Vladimir Putin calling for the structure’s preservation, with signatures from a number of elite international architects, including Rem Koolhaas, Liz Diller, and Norman Foster. The latter, whose lattice-clad Gherkin building in London bears echoes of the tower, has called it a “structure of dazzling brilliance and great historical importance.” (The petition can be signed at

Shukhov Radio Tower

Location:Shukhov Radio Tower, Moscow

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