New pylon design shortlist unveiled by UK government

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Update 14 October – T Pylon has been unanimously agreed by the judging panel as the winner of the Pylon Design competition run by the Department of Energy & Climate Change, National Grid, and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

As a result of this contest National Grid will now work with Bystrup to develop their T-Pylon design further. National Grid have also said they want to do further work with Ian Ritchie Associates on their Silhouette design, and New Town Studio’s Totem design. The winner will receive £5000 prize money and the 5 other finalists will each receive £1000.

Nick Winser, executive director, National Grid 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. We are genuinely delighted at the prospect of working with all three companies to develop some real options for the future.”

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. Whilst there should still be the opportunity for statement designs where they are appropriate this radical solution is a quantum leap forward for the design of the thousands of pylons needed in the years to come.”

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14 September – UK energy secretary Chris Huhne has opened a display featuring scale models of six striking designs for new electricity pylons to the public today at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

On 23 May the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and National Grid called for designs for a new generation of electricity pylon.

250 submitted designs from around the world have been whittled down to six finalists who have been working with the National Grid and Millennium Models to build scale models of their designs for the final judging panel. A prize fund of £10,000 will be shared among the winning candidates and National Grid will give consideration to developing the winning design for use in future projects.

The government has invited the UK public to comment on the designs via the competition website until 5 October and those comments will be taken into account by the judging panel when they make their final decision later that month.

Chris Huhne will chair the judging panel, which will include National Grid’s Nick Winser, former Director of the V&A Sir Mark Jones, architects Sir Nicholas Grimshaw and Bill Taylor, engineer Chris Wise, the journalist Jonathan Glancey, Scottish Power representative Jim Sutherland and a former RIBA President, Ruth Reed.

The “Pylon for the Future” display is open to the public until 5 October.

4 thoughts on “New pylon design shortlist unveiled by UK government

  1. I was delighted to be informed by RIBA that my Rebel-Relic Pylosaur pylon was the runner up to the six finalists. I was also at the presentation at the V&A. My vote goes to the T pylon, it is as minimal as can be, practical, half the price of a regular pylon and is the only pylon created by specialist pylon designers. They are Danish and great fun guys, they deserve to win. I was commissioned to design a clock for Lego so I love Denmark. The worst you can say is it’s dull but who cares, it’s a pylon not a diamond ring.

    I don’t think any of the others stand a chance of going into production on costs alone, in my view all are style over content and most seem to me to be incapable of mass-production, unless you want to risk going bankrupt trying. All except T pylon are totally impractical. If you want a quick idea of what the brief was all about go to my site, it’s all there, easily explained and it is a fascinating brief.

    I’m not an architect but a product designer who has worked extensively with Disney, Warners, Hasbro and Mattel character merchandise and I hope it shows. Whatever else they are Pylosaurs are the only killer pylons in the contest – check them out.

    Who knows what will actually be produced but pray that Pylosaurs aren’t unleashed to roam the Earth, they are far too dangerous and despite what you may think they actually encourage alien invasion. However they are as cheap as chips, assemble faster than an Ikea wardrobe without the need for a telescopic crane and are portable. You can’t buy them in B&Q yet but be warned, pet Pilosaurs are not just for Christmas.

    http://www.pylosaur.com/

    1. Hi, Pylosaur. Thank you for your comments. Perhaps I should place 50p each-way on T-Pylon winning?

      Very interesting design. Congratulations on being runner-up. To me, pylons are like an army of giants striding the landscape, so I get the dinosaur thing. I like the skull motif in particular. I can’t believe RIBA didn’t include the Pylosaur in the final six!

      1. No don’t do that, the winner will be Plexus but it’s too big and expensive to ever be built in volume. They might make half a dozen like Foster’s just to keep face but it isn’t fundamental enough to be the answer. I had the most amazing phone call saying they argued about having Pylosaurs in the final six for an hour and a half. I really conceived it as much as a showcase idea for the press to give the competition more than just ho-hum pylons and I guess some of the committee saw the value in that.

        Having learned a bit more about pylons my Electro-Dactyl Pylosaur is now on the drawing-board. It’s not as fun but I’m hoping it is the killer Pylon to end all functional pylon design until plastics have the tensile strength to take over.

  2. Totem is practically invisible. Silhouette look likes it want to be invisible and doesn’t look up to supporting the insulators (arms) and cables. Plexus looks like the naff Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. T-Pylon looks like a telegraph pole. Flower Tower looks like a TV mast. And Y-Pylon looks hopelessly impractical.

    Pylosaur would have got my vote. I would make one alteration by making different species skull motifs. It might push up the costs, but think of the merchandising spin-off opportunities for National Grid!

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