The Pylon Design Competition yesterday announced a shortlist of six conceptual designs.
Picking from over 250 entrants, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne and fellow panelist Sir Nicholas Grimshaw unveiled models of the finalists from the first round of the competition launched in May. The competition aims to revamp the traditional British electricity pylon, a design that has remained unchanged on our landscapes since 1928.
“Like all classics, the great British pylon is both loved and loathed. If good design is as little design as possible, then there are a fair few people who would prefer it if pylons were never designed at all,” said Huhne.
Shortlisters included a collaborative entry from Arup and Amanda Levete Architects (AL_A) called Plexus. The harp-shaped structure comprises of two curved steel posts and a slimmer central rod to balance tension.
“Our concept is captured here in a finely tuned piece of engineering. There is something about this form which is fragile, but it is extremely resilient. Design is about finding a perfect balance between form and function,” said AL_A Director Amanda Levete. “Pylons for me are romantic and heroic.”
New Town Studio collaborated with Structure Workshop to produce a contemporary, tubular shaped pylon, merged with the traditional lattice design. Taking into account the need for any new design to complement the existing electricity pylons, the design contrasted with rest of the shortlist who decided to move away from the traditional lattice design.
“We wanted to redesign the lattice concept to make it more visually sensitive than the current design. We felt straight posts were less domineering and that they became a mediating force between nature and technology, as it’s more suited to repetition and takes up less land,” said Chris Snow from New Town Studio.
The winning design will be seriously considered for use by National Grid, possibly with two or more designs chosen for manufacture. The new pylons will carry electricity from existing and renewable sources of energy as part of the Britain’s plan to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent before 2050. The winning design will be announced on or shortly after the 14th October 2011.
Read more about the Pylon Design Competition.
Check out the designs of the six finalists.