Day 142/365 of Steel – Vladimir Shukhov

Vladimir Shukhov (28/8/1853- 2/2/1939) : A forgotten giant.

Vladimir Shukhov
Fig 1: Vladimir Shukhov. 1891.
Public domain

Vladimir Grigoryevich Shukhov was a Russian engineer-polymath, scientist and architect renowned for his pioneering works on new methods of analysis for structural engineering that led to breakthroughs in industrial design of world’s first hyperboloid structures, lattice shell structures, tensile structures, gridshell structures, oil reservoirs, pipelines, boilers, ships and barges.

Adziogol Lighthouse in Ukraine
Fig 2: Adziogol Lighthouse in Ukraine
Photo: Darkngs

In 1876 Shukhov graduated from the Moscow Technical school with distinction and a Gold Medal. Shukhov went to Philadelphia, to work on the Russian pavilion at the World’s Fair and to study the inner workings of the American industry.

Tower in Krasnodar
Fig 3: Tower in Krasnodar
Photo: Yuriy Zaytsev

On his return to Russia in 1877, Shukhov decided to assume the office of Chief Engineer in a new company specializing in innovative engineering. Shukhov worked with Bari at this company until the October Revolution. Their works revolutionized many areas of civil engineering, ship engineering, and oil industry. The thermal cracking method, the Shukhov cracking process, was patented by Vladimir Shukhov in 1891.

Bridge over Ashe river
Fig 4: Bridge over Ashe river
Photo: Vyacheslav Argenberg

Besides the innovations he brought to the oil industry and the construction of numerous bridges and buildings, Shukhov was the inventor of a new family of doubly-curved structural forms. These forms, based on non-Euclidean hyperbolic geometry, are known today as hyperboloids.

The Shukhov Tower - Worlds First Hyperboloid in Polibino
Fig : The Shukhov Tower – Worlds First Hyperboloid in Polibino
Photo: Arssenev

Shukhov developed not only many varieties of light-weight hyperboloid towers and roof systems, but also the mathematics for their analysis. Shukhov is particularly reputed for his original designs of hyperboloid towers such as the Shukhov Tower. The tower was saved from deconstruction in 2014, after a concerted campaign calling for the preservation of the tower.

Inside View of the Shukhov tower in Moscow
Fig : Inside View of the Shukhov tower in Moscow
Photo: Legion Media

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

You May Also Like

Day 19/365 of Steel – The Gherkin

On the 28th of April 2004, The Gherkin was officially inaugurated. Norman Foster (architect) and Ove Arup (engineering) created a true masterpiece in skyscraper engineering. The Gherkin is an example…
Read More

Day 2/365 of Steel – Roy Hofheinz

Roy Hofheinz was born on the 10th of april 1912. As co-owner of HSA (Houston Sports Association) he was the driving force behind the construction of the famous Astrodome. The…
Read More

Day 29/365 of Steel – Menashe Kadishman

Menashe Kadishman (21/8/1932 – 8/5/2015) I discovered Kadishman’s work during our visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.The Memory Void, one of the symbolic spaces on the ground level of…
Read More