Formally known as the Shabolovka Tower but called after its designer, Vladimir Shukhov, the tower is a delicate-looking, 160-meter (525 feet) lattice-framed structure built at a time when radio ruled the media of communism and the new Soviet Union.
The tower has been declared unsafe, and efforts to demolish it are underway, but preservationists have written to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking that it be preserved.
“It is a transcendent structure. The sensation of standing underneath it is so uplifting,” said Richard Pare, writer of an open letter to Putin signed by a number of renowned architects.
Of its historical significance, Pare added, “Communication and radio was the new thing (when the tower was erected), the latest technology at the time. Shukhov’s tower was spreading the word of the new age.”
The structure, nicknamed “the Eiffel Tower of the East,” is considered a historical monument to the optimism of post-revolutionary Russia and an example of Constructivism, an ethos in which engineering and industrial design displayed social and artistic ideas. It was originally designed to be 350 meters (1,148 feet) high, which would have made it the world’s tallest structure at the time, but a shortage of steel prevented the plan.
Campaigners to keep the tower standing await an official decision from Russia’s State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting.