From Russia with love: The new tower that will be built in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 17:56 25 July 2017 | UPDATED: 19:06 25 July 2017

A mock-up of how the Tatlin's Tower model would look next to the Sainsbury Centre. Photo: Sainsbury Centre

A mock-up of how the Tatlin's Tower model would look next to the Sainsbury Centre. Photo: Sainsbury Centre


It was designed to dwarf the Eiffel Tower, standing as an imperious, 400m-high monument to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917.

The Sainsbury Centre. Picture: ArchiveThe Sainsbury Centre. Picture: Archive

Instead, Tatlin’s Tower has an unusual entry in the history books - as the most famous building never to be built.

In October, though, the tower will finally be built on the edge of Norwich.

But before you cry “blight”, it will be a massively scaled-down version, standing at 10m in its permanent home next to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

The installation of the Tatlin’s Tower model will be one of the highlights of the Sainsbury Centre’s Russia Season - two spectacular exhibitions from October, to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution.

The two major exhibitions will contrast art, life and culture in Russia before and after the Revolution.

The first exhibition, Royal Fabergé, will explore the glittering saga of the world’s greatest artist-jewellers during the decades preceding the First World War.

The second, Radical Russia, will show how avant-garde artists – who had scandalised conservative society with outrageous and subversive painting, poetry and theatre – came with revolution to briefly become the State’s officially approved culture.

Tatlin’s Tower, which will be in the sculpture park alongside the centre, was a design for a grand monumental building by the Russian artist and architect Vladimir Tatlin.

It was planned for Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) as the headquarters and monument of the Comintern.

The Constructivist-style tower was designed to comprise iron, glass and steel.

Its main form was a twin helix which spiraled up to 400m, around which visitors would be transported with the aid of various mechanical devices.

The main framework would contain four large suspended geometric structures, rotating at different rates.

At the base of the structure was a cube which was designed as a venue for lectures, conferences and legislative meetings, and this would complete a rotation in the span of one year.

Above the cube would be a smaller pyramid housing executive activities and completing a rotation once a month.

Further up would be a cylinder, which was to house an information centre, issuing news bulletins and manifestos via telegraph, radio and loudspeaker, and would complete a rotation once a day.

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