In a bid to enliven Britain’s tired, 1920s electricity pylons and inject some much-needed creative design into some of the UK's more downcast regions, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, National Grid and the Royal Institute of British Architects launched a nationwide competition in May 2011 to design a new line of pylons to replace some of the 88,000 pylons across Britain.
Today it was announced that this competition - which drew 250 high quality entries and a shortlist of 6 ingenious designs - has been won by Danish design studio Bystrup. The firm’s T-Pylon concept was applauded by ‘radical’, ‘simple’ and ‘understated’ by RIBA Immediate Past President Ruth Reed, and will be developed in connection with National Grid with the intention of realising the innovative aesthetic.
Bystrup will be presented with £5,000 prize money and the remaining 5 shortlisted firms will receive £1,000. The shortlist was as follows: Ian Ritchie Architects, Jane Wernick Associates and Ann Christopher, Sculptor; Bystrup; Gustafson Porter with Atelier One and Pfisterer; AL_A & Arup; Knight Architects / Roughan & O’Donovan / ESB International in association with MEGA; New Town Studio and Structure Workshop.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: “This is an innovative design which is simple, classical and practical. Its ingenious structure also means that it will be much shorter and smaller than existing pylons and therefore less intrusive. This competition has been a great success in bringing forward new and creative approaches to a pylon model which has not changed since the 1920s.We are going to need a lot more pylons over the next few years to connect new energy to our homes and businesses and it is important that we do this is in the most beautiful way possible.”
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.