The White Tower in Yekaterinburg

The White Tower in Yekaterinburg is located in the Ordzhonikidze district of the city on the Donbass street of the Uralmash microdistrict.It appeared simultaneously with the Ural Heavy Machine Building Plant and was called the “water tower”. She was supposed to provide water to the village of the plant’s builders.

Features of the structure

The unusual building was built according to the sketch of the architect M. Reischer in the style of constructivism, which was fashionable at that time.

Constructivism is a style that is characterized by rigor, geometrism, laconic forms and monolithic appearance. This is exactly what the water tower turned out to be. The structure is based on the intersection of two geometric bodies . This is a ladder in the form of a prism and a cylindrical tank.

According to the initial design, the tower was conceived to be built entirely of reinforced concrete. But due to lack of experience, the project was modified. The tank was constructed from iron, using electric welding for the first time. Supported the capacity of the “legs”.

An unfortunate failure

The building was erected on a hill, and the 29-meter bulk looked very impressive. But during the ceremonial launch, the water-filled tank burst . The water rushed down, washing away everything in the way. As a result, the bottom was made of reinforced concrete. The building was whitewashed with lime, and immediately among the people it received its “speaking” name White Tower.

The further fate of the tower

The new district of Uralmash expanded rapidly, and the water tower soon ceased to cope with water supply. It was stopped in 1960. The equipment was dismantled, and the building itself was out of work for many years.

For 80 years of its existence, not a single reconstruction has been carried out in it. In 2006, the tower was recognized as a monument of the architectural avant-garde. The international organization “Red Cross” took her under her care. It was planned to revive the monument, but in the summer of 2012 the guardianship was terminated.

Since then, attempts have been made to turn the building into a youth cafe with an observation deck at the top, as well as an object for advertising.

Restoration attempts

Today experts are looking for a way to return the symbol of constructivism to Yekaterinburg. A group of architecture students developed a special project to return the tower to the urban environment.

The White Tower was cleared of debris, electricity was installed, stairs, railings, and a secure door were made. All this was carried out thanks to grants received from the Ministry of Culture, the Potanin Charitable Foundation and the Moscow Architectural Bureau. The cost of the restoration was 2 million rubles.

Tower currently

Currently, temporary exhibitions are being held on the ground floor of the ground pavilion, where you can get acquainted with history, see old photographs and models.

The tank itself is adapted for a multimedia and concert stage. The observation tower above the tank today is a terrace with a breathtaking view of Uralmash.

In addition, at present, the White Tower is one of the sites for the “Night of Museums” campaign; excursions are held on weekends in warm weather. In 1993, a car market appeared at the foot.

Interesting Facts

  1. At the time of construction, the water tower’s tank was the largest in the world. It was made for 5 months.
  2. During the Great Patriotic War, the tower was repainted in khaki.
  3. The name “White Tower” in Yekaterinburg is used by an insurance company that emerged in 1980.
  4. Since 2013, the completely rebuilt car market, having turned into a huge car showroom, has retained the name “Avtomall White Tower”.
  5. Since 2010, the name “White Tower” has been given to a regional architectural festival that takes place annually in Yekaterinburg.
  6. In 2012, a book by Lyudmila Tokmeninova was published about the history of creation, construction and life to this day.