вторник, 10 марта 2009 г.

Shukhov Tower - the radio tower in Shabolovka street in Moscow

Among the works of the Great Russian engineer Vladimir Grigorievich Shukhov the Shukhov Tower - the radio tower in Shabolovka street in Moscow built according to his project and under his guidance - has got the most fame. This tower is acknowledged as one of the most beautiful and prominent achievements of engineering thought, the masterpiece of engineering art.

The most graceful among the inventions of V.G. Shukhov are the metal lattice shells. The structure of a typical Shukhov tower is also a lattice shell in the form of a single-cavity hyperboloid of rotation. Shukhov was the first in the world to invent and use in construction the lattice metal shells in the form of hanging and arch-shaped overhead covers and hyperboloid towers (patents of Russian Empire №1894, №1895, №1896 dated March 12, 1899, declared by Shukhov on 27.03.1895 - 11.01.1896). For the 1896 All-Russia industrial and art exhibition in Nizhniy Novgorod V.G. Shukhov built eight gigantic pavilions with hanging and arch-shaped lattice overhead covers of the total area of 25070 square meters and the steel lattice 25-meter tower, which became the first hyperboloid structure in the world. The astonishing lattice structures caused delight of the European specialists. The English magazine "The Engineer" published an article about the Shukhov tower and about the overhead covers at the 1896 exhibition in Nizhniy Novgorod - "The Nijni-Novgorod exhibition: Water tower, room under construction, springing of 91 feet span", The Engineer, 1897, № 19.3. - P. 292-294: ill. After the exhibition had closed, the openwork tower of rare beauty was bought by the well-known Maecenas of that time Yu.S. Nechaev-Maltsev and placed in his estate Polibino, Lipetsk region, where it has preserved until now under the state protection. In the subsequent years, V.G. Shukhov developed numerous structures of various lattice steel shells and used them in hundreds of buildings: overhead covers of public buildings and industrial objects, water towers, sea lighthouses, masts of warships and supports for power transmission lines. The hyperboloid structures and lattice shells appeared abroad only 10 years after the Shukhov's invention. The radio tower in Shabolovka, Moscow had become the highest of Shukhov's towers.

Thanks to its lattice structure, the steel shell of Shukhov Tower in Shabolovka experiences minimum wind load, which is the main hazard for high-rising buildings. The tower sections are single-cavity hyperboloids of rotation made of straight beams, which ends rest against circular foundations. The openwork steel structure combines strength and lightness: it was spent three times less of metal on the unit height of the Shukhov Tower than on the unit height of the Eifel Tower in Paris. According to the initial project, the Shukhov Tower with the height of 350 meters had the estimated mass of only 2200 ton, while the Eifel Tower in Paris with the height of 350 meters weighs 7300 ton. But during the Civil war the government could not find enough quantity of steel profiles to realize the first project of the tower. Shukhov had to develop the second project of the tower's structure with the height of 148,5 meters. Later, after the installation of two beams and a flagpole the height of the Shukhov Tower reached 160 meters. The round conic case of the tower consists of 6 sections with the height of 25 meters each. The lower section is mounted onto the concrete foundation with the diameter of 40 meters and the depth of 3 meters. The construction of the tower was conducted by the telescopic method - without scaffolding and lifting cranes. The upper sections were assembled inside the lower one by turns and with the help of pulleys and winches were lifted onto each other. During its more than 80-year history the Shukhov Tower served as a support for the antennas of big radio and TV stations: Moscow radiotelegraph station, 40-kWatt broadcasting station "Big Komintern", Moscow TV center.

Later, such famous architects as Antonio Gaudi, Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer used hyperboloid structures in their creative work. The authors of the modern lattice shells are Frei Otto, Norman Foster, Frank Gery, Santjago Kalatrava.

The display of the Shukhov Tower's models at the prestigious architectural exhibitions of Europe during the last years confirm its world's significance. At "The art of engineering" exhibition in the Pompidu Center in Paris the portrayal of the Shukhov Tower was used as a logotype, and six pages of the exhibition catalogue were dedicated to it. The gilded 6-meter model of the Shukhov Tower was placed at the exhibition "The best constructions and buildings of the XX century architecture" in Munich in 2003. The international scientific conference "Heritage at Risk. The preservation of the XX century architecture and the World's heritage", which was held in Moscow in April, 2006 with the participation of 170 specialists from 30 countries of the world, acknowledged the Shukhov Tower to be the object of the world's heritage.


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