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PRESERVATION

Moscow’s Eiffel Tower is saved from the wrecking ball

Moscow's 92-year-old Shukhov Tower
AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin
Not dead yet.
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A retro-futuristic 92-year-old Soviet landmark known as Moscow’s Eiffel Tower has been saved from demolition, following a years-long preservation battle that attracted worldwide attention. Russia’s state broadcasting committee said��this spring that the Shukhov Tower, which is badly in need of repairs, would be dismantled and relocated (paywall). But late last week, the city council changed its mind and announced that it would be restored instead.

The about-face came soon after Moscow held a smartphone poll to determine tower’s fate. More than 90% of respondents voted to keep the historic tower in its current location south of the Kremlin.

The Shukhov Tower was designed by Vladimir Shukhov and built in 1922 as a paragon of Soviet constructivism. Its hyperboloid steel-lattice structure was a radical feat of engineering for its time and inspired praise from figures as diverse as Walter Benjamin and Antoni Gaudí.

Rem Koolhaas, Norman Foster, Elizabeth Diller, and other high-profile architects all petitioned Russian president Vladimir Putin to save the Soviet monument. The tower’s design and prominent position in the Moscow skyline were cited as reasons for preserving it.

“With his tower, it’s like Shukhov sent a letter from the end of the 19th century to the 21st century,” the architect’s grandson told Motherboard in March. It now seems possible that the tower will be around to amaze 22nd-century Musovites too.

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