Shukov Radio Tower, Moscow’s own Eiffel Tower will soon be demolished if architects around the world, who started a petition to save the conical structure of steel, do not convince the Russian State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting to leave it untouched. The 50-story creation belongs to Vladimir Shukov, an engineer-polymath, scientist and architect and represents the symbol of the Soviet architectural vision of that time. Architects state that the structure cannot be moved elsewhere because it would not be the same.
The architect envisioned a design taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which attracted the nickname “Moscow’s own Eiffel Tower,” but the Shukov radio tower is soon to be demolished, according to the Russian State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting. The plans for the immense structure ended abruptly when Lenin stated that, because of steel shortage, the design would only reach 180 meters. The then-leader told the architect that 2,200 tons of steel were not available for him to erect a structure 360 meters tall, compared to Eiffel’s 324. Nonetheless, the Shukov radio tower became the city’s landmark and, when the German critic Walter Benjamin went to Moscow in 1928, he wrote about the impressive structure in his diary. Nowadays, the tower still broadcasts radio and television signals.
Saving Moscow’s Eiffel Tower
Architects across the world were unhappy with the Russian State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting’s approval to demolish the Shukov radio tower and assemble it elsewhere, because of two reasons; first, the tower would not resist the disruption and second, people cannot imagine it anywhere but where it has been in the past 92 years.
Opponents of the demolition insist that the Shukov radio tower is an architectural treasure and the Russian Ministry of Culture also believes that the action is illegal, because it represents a cultural monument.
A petition which aims to save Moscow’s own Eiffel Tower from being demolished was made by historian Jean-Louis Cohen and sent straight to president Vladimir Putin; over 2,300 signatures were gathered so far. At the same time, Russian architect Maria Troshina told The Calvert Journal that the Shukov radio tower belongs there and dismantling it and moving it elsewhere means that “it will no longer be the Shukov tower.”
The architect’s great-grandson, named after him stated that the tower is his great-grandfather’s “letter from the end of the 19th century to the 21st century.” He also added that “his techniques in architecture are still being taught to architecture students around the world.”
People around the world are asking the Russian authorities to drop the plan of dismantling the Shukov radio tower, a plan which would cost approximately $3.4 million and defenders have already asked UNESCO to save the structure by naming it a cultural heritage site. At the same time, an unnamed spokesperson from the Ministry of Communication said that the solution is to dismantle the tower and save its elements “for later restoration,” The Moscow Times reported.
The Russian authorities are expected to make a final decision by March 24, but, until then, the Shukov radio tower, Moscow’s own Eiffel Tower is to be demolished and possibly restored elsewhere.
By Gabriela Motroc