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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Moscow's Shukhov Tower rescued from demolition

Moscow's Shukhov Tower rescued from demolition
a preservation order has been placed on Moscow's iconic Shukhov Radio
Tower preventing its demolition, following a high-profile appeal by
architects including Tadao Ando, Rem Koolhaas and Elizabeth Diller.

City officials have formally prohibited the destruction or relocation
of the 160-metre conical steel structure and proposed its addition to
the federal list of protected heritage sites.

The conservation order dates back to 10 July, but did not appear in
online legislation databases until late last week, according to Russian
newspaper Izvestia.
It prevents any alterations to the tower's materials, three-dimensional
composition and steel structural elements, and also protects it from
being moved – a ruling that will also stop property developers from
taking advantage of the site.

The Soviet landmark was completed by Russian engineer Vladimir
Shukhov in 1922 and has been dubbed as the Russian equivalent of the
Eiffel Tower. It came under threat earlier this year when the Russian
State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting announced plans to
dismantle it, having left it to deteriorate for years.

The prompted a host of architects and industry figures,
including Kengo Kuma and Thom Mayne, to launch an urgent bid to Russian
president Vladimir Putin to protect the "superlative work of modern
engineering and architecture".

Moscow's Shukhov Tower - image courtesy of Shutterstock

Dismantling the tower and reassembling it elsewhere was discussed.
Preservationists argued that this would not only destroy the landmark,
but would leave the site exposed to 50-storey-high developments, thanks
to a planning loophole.

Moscow city council is now hoping to hold an open international
competition to restore the tower, estimated to cost approximately £260
million, although there is some doubt over whether the heritage
legislation will allow it.

The tower stopped broadcasting television signals in 2002. In 2009
Putin had expressed support for restoring the tower and transforming it
into a tourist attraction.

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