Unknown photographer. The First house-commune, Khaustly Street, and the Shabolovka Radio Tower, Moscow. 1931. Relief half-tone, postcard stock, 9.4 x 13.8 cm. CCA Collection. PH1984:0968

Richard Pare. The Shabolovka Radio Tower, Moscow. 2000. Digital print, 102.2 x 112 cm. CCA Collection. PH2001:0119 © Richard Pare


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In 1919, the Russian engineer and architect Vladimir Shukhov designed a major radio tower for Moscow. The tower was to rise some 350 metres while appearing exceptionally light. Due to shortages of money and materials, the tower was scaled back to 150 metres, but Shukhov was still able to employ his original construction method: a newly devised six-tier, hyperboloid, telescoping assembly of lightweight latticework.

Built in 1922, the steel structure, used for transmitting radio and (starting in 1938) television signals, became the symbol of a new society and one of the most spectacular works of avant-garde architecture. The 1931 image was reproduced in USSR in Construction, a Soviet propaganda periodical focusing on architecture and economics.

The contemporary photograph by Richard Pare, from his study of iconic Soviet architecture, captures the technical power and beauty of the still-operational landmark. More than 40 structures in Moscow alone are associated with Vladimir Shukhov.