Shukhov Tower

The Shukhov Tower is a slender, graceful beauty, one of the most comfortable and discouraging symbols of Moscow. Address: Moscow, Shabolovka street, 37. This high-rise building can be seen from different parts of the city, and from its upper part amazing landscapes of the capital open.

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From the history of creation

This television tower was built according to the project of Academician Vladimir Grigorievich Shukhov in the period 1919-1922. The designer developed the project of the TV tower on Shabolovka in 1919. It is called differently: Shukhov TV tower, Shabolovskaya TV tower, Shukhov radio tower.

According to the original plan, the building was supposed to be 350 meters high and surpass the world-famous Eiffel Tower. It was conceived 3 times lighter than the French design and had to weigh 2.2 kilotons against 7.3 in Paris.

But because of the devastation that reigned after the October Revolution in the Union, the overstated bar had to be lowered. There was a catastrophic lack of steel for the construction of the facility. During the construction process, the height of the TV tower was reduced to 160 meters .

Design features

The architecture of the building is bold and innovative. It is a hyperboloid structure in the form of a steel mesh shell.

A hyperboloid in architecture is a special ruled rigid structure. In the Shabolovskaya tower, it is brilliantly laconic. Presented in the form of intersecting straight steel profiles. These profiles are based on solid bases – rings, creating a clear geometric pattern – a mesh.

At first glance, this mesh structure is very fragile. But it has an invaluable advantage – the wind load on it is minimized . For a structure made entirely of metal beams, the Shukhov Tower has a record low weight.

Simplicity and practicality are felt in everything, the details did not require special development and were rivets and profiles.

Features of tower construction

The construction of the Shukhov Tower began on March 14, 1920. Lenin personally supervised the project. The designer Shukhov himself took part in the construction. The tower was not built as quickly as we would like. It consists of 6 sections, each of which is 25 meters long. The lower section is installed on a concrete foundation with a diameter of 40 meters and a depth of 3 meters.

Each section was assembled at the bottom and then lifted into place using special winches. Assisted by one coordinating worker at the top of the tower. No scaffolding or cranes were used in the construction.

The mesh structure has provided resistance to the destructive force of winds that high-rise buildings typically suffer from. Sections were fastened with rivets. The openwork mesh construction has an amazing margin of safety. Without major repairs, she faithfully served people for 90 years!

Construction difficulties

An accident occurred during construction. When lifting the fourth section, the third one broke. The fourth fell, damaging the second and the first. A military threat was impending for the Soviet Union, the tower was supposed to provide a reliable connection between the capital and the regions. The government’s plans were thwarted, the Soviet government could not forgive this.

Engineer Shukhov was put on trial and sentenced to death, fortunately conditional. This meant that if the construction was not completed on time, then the execution would turn from a conditional into a real one. Vladimir Grigorievich himself at this time was experiencing a deep personal drama – his mother and son die in one year.

So with the sword of Damocles over his head, the talented engineer continued the work and completed it brilliantly. In just 2 years, the tower has grown to its present size. The ingenious designer based the construction on the method of weaving peasant willow baskets .

The tower became the prototype of numerous structures of this kind, not only on the territory of the Soviet Union (9 similar structures were created), but also in China, Japan, and Switzerland.

Extraordinary strength

The lightness and simplicity of construction is combined with amazing strength. This is evidenced by one very curious fact. In 1941, a mail plane flew in the area of ​​the tower. As a result of a malfunction, he touched a metal cable hanging from the structure and fixed at its base.

The tower received a powerful blow, the plane, unable to withstand the collision, fell to pieces in one of the nearest courtyards. The commission, assembled to identify the damage inflicted on the tower, did not find any. The structure was not damaged, and there was absolutely no need for repairs.

The history of broadcasting from the Shukhov tower

The Shukhov Tower began broadcasting radio broadcasts immediately after its construction. Residents of Moscow saw the first TV programs only in 1939. Four days a week, the happy owners of the first television sets – there were about a hundred of them in Moscow at that time – could enjoy ideological documentaries about party conventions.

With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the broadcasts stopped. The tower has once again turned into the capital’s radio transmitter. In the year of Victory, television again returned to the Soviet Union, and the Shukhov television tower acquired the status of a national symbol and became the personification of Soviet television.

Interestingly, during the first live broadcasts, the presenters had no right to make even the slightest mistake. They came up with a ritual “for good luck”: with the thought of a safe ether, they walked around the tower and touched its beams at the base.

Broadcasts from the Shukhov Tower were stopped in 2002 . The territory in which it is located is considered closed. You can get to the site only after a specially issued permit. You can also just walk up to the fenced-in area and admire the legendary structure.

World renown

The fame of the Shukhov TV tower spread far beyond the borders of Russia. In many European countries, this building is described in books on the history of architecture. The International Commission recommended that the structure be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 2016, the tower was included in the list of World Cultural Monuments with a protected status.

In Munich, at an exhibition dedicated to the best structures of architecture, there was a gilded six-meter model of the Shukhov Tower.

Current state of the tower

During its existence, the tower has never been fully restored. In 2003, the Shukhov Tower Foundation was approved, headed by the great-grandson of the engineer, Vladimir Shukhov. Experts found that the tower was in danger, and in 2009 a decision was made to restore it.

For these purposes, 135 million rubles were allocated . These funds were not enough, and the work was postponed. Meanwhile, the state of the monument was becoming close to emergency, and a project was proposed for dismantling.

This initiative was opposed by a number of world-famous architects. In the summer of 2014, Muscovites voted for the preservation of the Shukhov Tower through a referendum. For safety reasons, the “antenna” section was removed.

Inside, structures were installed that support the walls and remove some of the load from the frame. In January 2017, the development of design documentation for the reconstruction of the monument was ordered. The contract price is over 32 million rubles.