Bystrup T-Pylon

Shorter lighter pylon wins design competition

Danish firm Bystrup has won a competition to come up with a new electricity pylon for the 21st century and will now work with National Grid on developing its concept beyond the initial design stage.

The T-Pylon was chosen unanimously by the judging panel of the Pylon Design competition run by the Department of Energy & Climate Change, National Grid, and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

There was huge interest in the competition, with 250 entries and six finalists, which were featured at the London Design Festival. The winner will receive £5000 prize money and the five other finalists will each receive £1000.

National Grid said that as well as developing the T-Pylon design it wants to do further work with Ian Ritchie Associates on its Silhouette design, and New Town Studio’s Totem.

National Grid executive director Nick Winser said: “In the T-Pylon we have a design that has the potential to be a real improvement on the steel lattice tower. It’s shorter, lighter and the simplicity of the design means it would fit into the landscape more easily. In addition, the design of the electrical components is genuinely innovative and exciting.

“However, the Totem and Silhouette designs are worthy of further consideration – both of them have strong visual appeal and characteristics that could work well in different landscapes.”

Ruth Reed, RIBA Immediate Past President said: “The potential to reduce the size and height of pylons and consequently their impact on the landscape and the amount of materials in their construction, made this scheme a clear winner for me. The radical design of a single suspension arm carrying three conductors is simple and understated. [It] is a quantum leap forward for the design of the thousands of pylons needed in the years to come.”

There are more than 88,000 pylons in the UK, including 22,000 on National Grid’s main transmission network in England and Wales. These stand some 50 metres high, weigh around 30 tonnes and carry electricity at up to 400kVover thousands of kilometres of some of the most exposed, weather-beaten parts of Britain.

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