Saturday, 20 March 2010

Lord Foster fights for Moscow tower

Famous British architect Sir Norman Foster has become the latest voice to join calls to save the iconic Shukhov radio tower.

The celebrated designer has long been an admirer of Vladimir Shukhov's revolutionary "hyperboloid" work and has written an open letter demanding urgent repairs to the fragile structure.

In the letter, published on the Shukhov Foundation's website, Lord Foster hails "a structure of dazzling brilliance and great historic importance" but warns that the Shabolovka is "neglected and decaying" and "without urgent attention it will doubtless fail".

His words mark the 88th anniversary of the tower's opening, but also highlight the lack of progress made in the 12 months since the tower's owners - Russia's Ministry of Communications - pledged to save the iconic structure.

At that time Shukhov's grandson, Vladimir Fyodorevich Shukhov, told The Moscow News that he hoped Lord Foster would get involved in any reconstruction work, but warned: "People often talk about helping preserve our heritage, but that's all that happens."

The foundation has a five-year plan to transform the site into a memorial complex to the engineer, and welcomes Lord Foster's backing.

But not all of the architect's plans for Russia have been well-received.

His Gazprom Tower in St. Petersburg has outraged conservationists, while his improbable "orange-peel" design for the Central House of Artists has won few friends here in Moscow.

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