Vladimir Shukhov

This is to say the directrix above the collar is closer to the collar than the one below it, such that the diameter of the top collar is proportionally smaller than the one below. A search for material about him reveals articles on ‘Shukhov the engineer’, ‘Shukhov the architect’ and ‘Shukhov the photographer’. Vladimir Shukhov, Shabololvka (Shukhov) Tower drawing, Moscow, 1919
By selecting directrices that are not equidistant with respect to the collar, Shukhov was able to taper his towers as they rose in height. What he is probably best known for are his various communication towers and pylons made from a series of hyperboloids of revolution stacked on top of each other. All the vertical elements are in straight lines, taking load transfers axially, while the horizontal rings – some of which are also grid shell trussed – are obviously optimised through being circular. Figure 10. He was a prolific inventor and many of his structures survive today. He was responsible for the first ocean-going oil tanker and indeed designed tanks to contain liquids using half the material used previously. Although hyperboloids of revolution are inefficient spaces at an architectural scale (Gaudi used them at a component scale), they are superbly efficient structural systems with every element working at its optimum. At first sight they are improbable structures, with their diaphanous appearance seeming far too delicate for the task in hand. By selecting directrices that are not equidistant with respect to the collar he was able to taper the towers as they rose in height. He was the genuine polymath for his time. We are more familiar with thin – wall concrete cooling towers, which are also hyperboloids of revolution exploiting the same properties that Shukhov had been the first to identify.

Updated: 30.10.2014 — 16:11