Saturday, June 23, 2012

Architectural masterpiece of the Russian avant-garde at risk

The Shukhov radio tower in Moscow may be lost if it is not properly restored soon according to architect Vladimir Shukhov's great-grandson. Commissioned by Lenin and constructed between 1920 and 1922 using an innovative lattice shell technique, the 90 year old tower is regarded as an architectural masterpiece of the Russian avant-garde. In 2010 Norman Foster described it as "a structure of dazzling brilliance and great historic importance", warning that it required urgent attention to save it.

Last year, Victor Putin ordered the allocation of $4.3 million to reconstruct the tower, but Shuhkov's great-grandson (also named Vladimir) believes this could result in an unsatisfactory replica. He says Russian officials have not sought the advice of foreign experts who are ready to work on a plan for the tower for a nominal fee, and that the European Union has allocated a comparable sum just to study his great-grandfather's design heritage.
Image: the Shukhov Radio Tower, Moscow