14 Sep 2011

Pylons of the future designs shortlisted

Six designers have had their futuristic visions for visually pleasing electricity pylons shortlisted for a competition that could see their plans spark into life.

In May, the Government, the Royal Institute of British Architects and National Grid launched the competition to design a 21st century pylon to meet the needs of a major new expansion of electricity infrastructure.

Hundreds of kilometres of new power lines will be needed to bring electricity from new low-carbon sources.

There are more than 88,000 pylons in the UK, including 22,000 on National Grid’s main transmission network in England and Wales.

But the familiar steel lattice tower has barely changed since the 1920s.

And, along with a £10,000 prize, whichever design is picked from the shortlist, it “will be given serious consideration to developing for use in future projects.”

As well as exploring the design of the pylon itself, the competition aims to explore the relationship between energy infrastructure and the environment within which it needs to be located.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne, one of the competition judges, said: “Britain will see the equivalent of twenty new power stations constructed by 2020, and we need to transport this new, low carbon energy to our televisions and toasters, dishwashers and DVD players.

“We must make sure that we take into account the visual impact on the landscape and also the view of the public, and this is what the pylon design competition is all about. I think that people will be impressed by the quality of these designs and I hope everyone takes the time to get involved and give their view.”

Models of the shortlisted designs are also available to view at the V&A Museum until 5 October.


Silhouette: Ian Ritchie Architects, Jane Wernick Associates and Ann Christopher, Sculptor

The T-Pylon

The T-Pylon: Bystrup – Architecture, Design & Engineering

Flower Tower

Flower Tower: Gustafson Porter with Atelier One and Pfisterer

A Pylon

A Pylon: AL_A & Arup

The Y Pylon

The Y Pylon: Knight Architects / Roughan & O’Donovan / ESB International in association with MEGA


Lattice: New Town Studio Engineer: Structure Workshop