Palazo Badoer

Appello internazionale

Per salvare la torre di Vladimir Schukhov dalla demolizione





L’area di ricerca Arte del costruire aderisce all’appello internazionale per salvare la torre Shabolovka dalla demolizione






Soviet Avant Garde at Risk

Schukhov’s Iconic Tower in Moscow
is in danger of being demolished for the sake of commercial profit.




The quintessential symbol of Soviet avant-garde architecture and the first large-scale monument erected after October revolution may be dismantled in less than a month.

Built between 1919 and 1922 by the legendary Russian engineer Vladimir Schukhov, the tower is a unique and innovative hyperboloid structure of the early twentieth century. Extremely light and featuring a lattice-shell technique patented by Shukhov in 1896, it was a unique self- scaffolding structure, so called Russian Eiffel Tower. Unlike its Parisian predecessor, however, Shukhov’s construction was designed as a broadcasting tower with the firm practical function of transmitting a “new communist vision” of a new state both to the Soviet Republics and abroad. The tower was commissioned directly by Lenin in 1919 as a strategic military and political object. It was the first time that the state permitted metal designated for military purposes to be used for the erection of a non-military structure, which subsequently became a symbol of early urban planning in post-revolutionary Moscow. It remained an active broadcasting tower until 2002.

Today, it is difficult to overestimate the tower’s artistic, strategic, historical and political role. For many years, it served as a masterpiece of innovative engineering and an emblem of Soviet television as well as a source of inspiration for numerous architects and artists. Its iconic silhouette is captured in film, photos, and poems, and it belongs to both the tangible and intangible heritage of Russian culture. Models and images of its impressive structure have been exhibited in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Gallery and the Royal Academy of Art in London, and the Venice Architectural Biennale. Indeed it has come to serve as both a logo and metaphor of avant-garde thought.


On February 4th 2014, several days after the seventy-fifth anniversary of Shukhov’s death, the official owner of the monument—the Ministry of Communication of the Russian Federation— announced the imminent dismantling of the tower due to its poor condition. The report proposes a rebuilding of the iconic structure in keeping with its original proportions but with new materials and on a different site. In other words, the ministry is planning a replica that will be situated out of context. One of the motives for this criminal initiative is to free up space for a new multifunctional skyscraper that has been proposed for the site.

The decision will be made in less than two weeks. Once dismantled the monument will be lost.


Xenia Vytuleva

Docomomo Russia, Visiting Assistant Professor Columbia University, NY




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