Luzhkov Rues State of Tower

MTShukhov tower was heralded for its frugality, using only 240 tons of steel.
The 150-meter Shukhov television tower on Ulitsa Shabolovka, one of the city's most famous structures and a symbol of the Russian avant-garde, is in a "disgraceful state," Mayor Yury Luzhkov said last week, Interfax reported.

"Compare it with the Eiffel Tower," Luzhkov said at a city council meeting, the news agency reported. "As it turns out, it's in such bad shape it can't even support lamps to illuminate it."

Luzhkov proposed declaring several important historical and architectural monuments "disaster sites," to draw attention to their plight.

The tower was built in 1922 by Vladimir Shukhov, an engineer who played an integral role in the expansion of the country's oil industry at the turn of the 20th century. His designs were used for more than 1,600 kilometers of oil pipelines, including the country's first, a project for the Nobel brothers that went to Baku.

He also designed the world's first hyperboloid tower -- an innovative type of structure that was widely imitated -- and used a similar design for more than 200 steel towers around the country. Fewer than 30 remain.

Originally, Shukhov wanted to build a tower 350 meters tall -- topping the Eiffel Tower, at 324 meters -- but finding enough metal was impossible in the midst of the Russian Civil War.

Shukhov tower's was heralded for its ingenious and frugal design. Unlike the Eiffel Tower, Shukhov's structure used far less metal, weighing 240 tons, compared with the 7,300 tons of the Parisian landmark.