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Wednesday23 July 2014

RIBA launches competition to redesign pylon

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Judging panel includes energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne

The RIBA has today launched a competition to redesign a stalwart of British engineering – the electricity pylon.

The competition, organised with the Department of Energy & Climate Change and the National Grid, is open to architects, designers, engineers and students.

As well as exploring the design of the structure itself, participants will be asked to look at the relationship between energy infrastructure and the environment within which it needs to be located.

RIBA president Ruth Reed said: “Design has never been far from our energy network.  The current pylon design was chosen by Sir Reginald Blomfield, a leading architect of his day back in 1927, but the familiar steel lattice tower design has barely changed since then.

“This is a technically challenging but exciting competition, with the potential to improve our landscapes for decades to come, and I expect it to generate widespread interest.”

The judging panel, chaired by energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne and including architects Nicholas Grimshaw and Bill Taylor, will meet in October to choose a winner.

The competition closes on July 12. For more information visit http://www.ribapylondesign.com

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Readers' comments (5)

  • james francis

    Would it not be better for the RIBA to be looking into ways to improve the profession rather than pylons? Is this the added value we get from the RIBA?

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  • Again? A competition for a new pylon design seems to pop up every couple of years. The steel lattice designs seem to do the job efficiently enough. Although they were, and to some extent still are, unpopular when they first appeared in the landscape, the steel lattice has proved more acceptable than some of the later solid, sculptural designs.

    To the west of London power cables are buried. The wealthy do not wish to look at pylons. In the poorer east of London pylons are commonplace. Maybe the exploration of burying power lines and the use of superconductors should be on the agenda rather than trying to revamp an engineering solution that has worked for over 80 years.

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  • The pylon is a stalwart of British Engineering? Pylons are I think pretty much the same all the world over, what is so special about British pylons?

    If this is the relevance of the RIBA to the UK and the architectural profession then things are going downhill faster than I thought.

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  • 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 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. However the T Pylon does lack maintenance gantries as do all the others so I guess any maintenance has to be done by crane or helicopter.

    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. 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/

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  • Watch out for a new Pylosaur coming soon. Pylosaurs

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