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Pylon designs go on show

15 Sep 11 Models of proposed new designs for electricity pylons have gone on display to the public at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The 'Pylon for the Future' display forms part of the London Design Festival and is open to until 05 October 2011.

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. A total of 250 submitted designs from around the world have been whittled down to just 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.

According to the organisers, the challenge is to design a pylon that has the potential to deliver for future generations while balancing the needs of local communities and preserving the beauty of the countryside.

The public is invited 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 it makes its final decision later that month.

The finalists are:

Silhouette by Ian Ritchie Architects and Jane Wernick Associates

T-Pylon by Bystrup Architecture, Design and Engineering

Y-Pylon by Knight Architects with Roughan & O’Donavon, and ESB International in association with MEGA

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Flower Tower by Gustafson Porter with Atelier One, and Pfisterer

Plexus by Al-A with Arup

Totem by New Town Studio, with Structure Workshop

A prize fund of £10,000 will be shared amongst the winning candidates and National Grid has promised only “to give consideration” to developing the winning design for use in future projects.

Speaking to the finalists, energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne said: “Britain will see the equivalent of 20 new power stations constructed by 2020, and we need to use electricity pylons to get this new, low-carbon energy to your 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 am highly impressed by the quality of these designs and I hope everyone takes the time to get involved and give their view.”

To coincide with the pylon design display, National Grid has published its new approach to building new transmission infrastructure. Using this approach, National Grid will put greater emphasis on mitigating the visual impact of its new electricity lines, while balancing this with the need to minimise household energy bills.

National Grid executive director UK Nick Winser, said: “Connecting Britain’s new power stations to our homes and businesses will be one of the great infrastructure challenges of the next decade and beyond. Through the use of new technology, pylon design, extensive consultation and undergrounding where appropriate, our new approach will ensure we consider very seriously the visual impact of new transmission lines.” 

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