The house has come off the roots: how buildings are transferred

Among the engineering problems that mankind had to solve, there are those that cause something like sacred awe in the soul. The transfer of buildings from place to place is clearly one of them. In the very idea of ​​tearing the house from the mother of the earth, something unnatural and irrevocable is already felt. But if necessary, it means, it is necessary, and even in the 15th century the legendary Aristotle Fioravanti (before becoming a Russian architect and military engineer) moved the bell tower in his Italian homeland.

For us, residents of Russia, and especially Muscovites, the topic of the transfer of buildings is very close, because in our recent history there were times when the center of the capital of Russia, with its "old-regime" buildings, was actively adapted to a bright communist future. Then, in the 1930s, according to the Master Plan for the reconstruction of Moscow through the center, it was decided to lay several wide streets. Where the new avenues were crowded, entire blocks turned into rubble. But still, some houses deserved a special fate - they were not demolished. They just moved. The most famous buildings that moved to a new address are the then Mossovet building (originally the house of the governor-general built by M.F.Kazakov), the courtyard of the Savvinsky monastery, the building of the Eye Hospital - all on Tverskaya Street.

Much has been written about the history of the Moscow “permutations”, about the outstanding engineer Emanuel Handel, who directed the movements. However, it is no less interesting to look at the technology of moving a building from place to place. Indeed, even the uninitiated understands that the main problems that engineers have to solve are the huge weight of the moving object and its fragility. The house must be very delicately torn off the foundation, raised, moved and managed to not be destroyed.


Gift to beloved queen

Abu Simbel is a monument of world significance. Here, in Upper Egypt, not far from the border with Sudan, in the 13th century BC, two majestic temples were erected in the rocks. One of these sanctuaries was dedicated by the pharaoh of the XIX dynasty Ramses II to his divine image, and the other, smaller, to his beloved wife Nefertari. Never in the history of ancient Egypt did the spouse of a ruler receive such a fantastic honor. The sculptures of the pharaoh on the pediments of temples amaze the imagination with its grandeur. More than three thousand years after Ramses II, in 1960−64. Egypt with the fraternal help of the Leningrad Institute "Hydroproject" erected the Aswan Dam on the Nile, after which the reservoir - Lake Nasser began to fill.

Iron in the ground

The first step is to somehow separate the house from the base. To do this, a trench is torn around the building, and then it is cut from the foundation. In the practice of Moscow movements, metal cables were used as a cutting tool. Of course, at this stage the building will not go anywhere: it is enough to slightly move it from its place - and it will begin to collapse. Before the journey begins, a brick, stone or tree will have to be held together.

The first step is to strengthen the building with the so-called waist beams. Another option is to encircle the house with a concrete monolith. The next step is the construction of a powerful metal frame, on which the building will hit the road.


Threat and salvation

The waters of Lake Nasser were rapidly approaching the temples and, according to calculations, were soon to completely flood the monuments. The temple rescue program was led by UNESCO and the Egyptian government. Transfer money (about $ 80 million) was collected around the world. In 1964−68 the temples were sawn into huge blocks and moved 65 m higher and 200 m further from the water's edge. There, the buildings were reassembled and cemented with cement mortar. Behind the temples erected supporting structures made of concrete, as if replacing the rock from which the temples were carved.

External and internal walls, which will be perpendicular to the direction of movement, are most vulnerable, therefore they need to be strengthened especially. In the walls, longitudinal grooves (shtabs) are made, where powerful iron beams are embedded in the form of an I-beam. These reinforcing structures are called random beams. Openings for rail tracks are punched below the random beams in the walls (they will go perpendicular to the random beams). Rollers are installed on the laid tracks, and so-called running beams are installed on them. Transverse beams are placed above the running beams, which are rigidly fastened to the rand beams, but the running beams do not yet touch. So the supporting frame takes its final form. Finally, metal wedges are driven into the remaining gap between the running and transverse beams. At this moment, the weight of the building is transferred from the foundation to the rollers placed on the rails. It remains to disassemble the masonry between the gaps for the rail tracks, and the house can be rolled.

Actually, the described technology is just one of the options. In different cases, depending on the weight of the house and other conditions, the design of the support frame and the methods for placing it on the rollers could differ. But the general principle remained unchanged. When moving the building, pushing jacks and winches were usually used to tow the building forward.

The Moscow City Council House is one of the most famous examples of the transfer of structures in Moscow. In 1939, the building (then not yet built) was moved deep into the quarter by 13.6 m. Despite the objections of the architects (the rush to move the buildings to nothing), the former house of the governor-general left for the new place at the "Stakhanov pace" - in 41 minutes. All this once again proves that there was a lot of politics, ideology and a desire to demonstrate to the West the technical achievements of the country of victorious socialism in the fashion for building transfers. In the current, already bourgeois Moscow, only railway bridges were moved. With houses treated differently.

But what about us?

It is surprising and sad that the Soviet exploits in the field of the movement of buildings are practically unknown abroad. On one of the well-visited American popular science sites, in the five heaviest buildings that have ever been moved, there is not a single Moscow, but there are four American, although a Chinese house is recognized as a record holder. He weighed 13, 500 tons and was moved 36 meters, which is why he ended up in the Guinness Book of Records. It is worth recalling that the Savvinsky Compound transferred by Handel weighs 23, 000 tons.

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