Some of the world's most famous architects are petitioning Russian president Vladimir Putin to save Moscow's iconic Shukhov Radio Tower from demolition.

The 1920s structure was designed by Vladimir Shukhov, who is generally considered ‘the Russian equivalent of Gustave Eiffel', according to an open letter accompanying the petition. In February it was decided that the tower, which is almost 160 metres tall, would be dismantled after falling into a state of disrepair.

Influential architects who have recently signed the petition include the Pritzker Prize-winning Rem Koolhaas and Thom Mayne. Also on the list are Elisabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (which is currently undertaking the expansion of MoMA New York) and William Baker, the engineer behind Burj Al Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest building.

The Shukhov Radio Tower was completed in 1922 and was designed to facilitate the spread of Communism in the early Soviet era. The historic structure is said to have inspired architects and designers from Sir Norman Foster to Le Corbusier.

The petition, led by Shukhov's great-grandson, maintains that the tower shows signs of neglect but is not in a dangerous state. Instead the group is campaigning for the structure to be nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List.

One of the emblems of Moscow, and one of the superlative engineering feats of the 20th century, it continues to influence technical and architectural projects globally.