Soviet-era tower saved by world architects

The early Soviet-era Shabolovka radio tower in Moscow has been saved from demolition after leading architects rallied together to save it.

Moscow City Hall has put the 1922 tower on its protected landmark list preventing its destruction after a petition was submitted to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The legislation will stop plans by the Russian State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting to dismantle the 50-storey steel structure.

It also protects the structure’s materials, architectural composition, and structural elements as well as preventing the tower from being moved or reassembled elsewhere.

The proposal had sparked a number of top architects and critics, including Tadao Ando, Rem Koolhaas, Kengo Kuma and Phyllis Lambert, to sign a petition which said the tower, designed by the engineer Vladimir Shuklov was a “work of a genius” worth saving.

The conical-shaped structure was commissioned by Lenin’s Communist to spread the political creed through radio technology. It later becoming an icon of the USSR’s ruling regime.

The letter and accompanying petition stated: ‘The Shabolovka Radio Tower, the largest such structure ever built, remains as Vladimir Shukhov’s masterpiece and his monument.

“It is one of the emblems of Moscow, and one of the superlative engineering feats of the twentieth century, still influencing and enriching technical and architectural ideas globally. Yet this masterpiece, featured in all the histories of engineering and architecture, is now threatened with being torn down in order to be replaced by new construction.”