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Mon September 28 2020

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Pylon design contest winner revealed

14 Oct 11 Bystrup's innovative T-Pylon design 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.

Bystrup's winning entry
Bystrup's winning entry

National Grid will now work with Bystrup to develop their T-Pylon design further. National Grid has also said that it wants to do further work with Ian Ritchie Associates on their Silhouette design, and New Town Studio’s Totem design. The winner will receive £5,000 prize money and the 5 other finalists will each receive £1,000.

Six finalists (see them here) from a field of 250 entries were featured at the London Design Festival and, according to the judges, generated huge public interest.

Energy 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.”

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.

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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.”

Totem by New Town Studio:

Silhouette by Ian Ritchie Architects:

RIBA immediate past president Ruth Reed 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.”

The judging panel was made up of: energy secretary Chris Huhne; National Grid director Nicholas Winser; Master of St Cross College Oxford and former Director of the V&A, Sir Mark Jones; architects Sir Nicholas Grimshaw and Bill Taylor; engineer Chris Wise; journalist Jonathan Glancey; landscape architect Andrew Grant; Scottish Power's Jim Sutherland; and former RIBA president Ruth Reed.  

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