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What might Britain's pylons of the future look like?

16 September 2011

Chris Huhne has opened a special display featuring scale models of six striking designs for new electricity pylons at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The 'Pylon for the Future' exhibit forms part of the London Design Festival and is open to the public until October 5 2011. National Grid has also published its new approach to building new transmission infrastructure, which will put greater emphasis on mitigating the visual impact of its new electricity lines.

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
Flower Tower by Gustafson Porter with Atelier One, and Pfisterer
Plexus by Al-A with Arup
Totem by New Town Studio, with Structure Workshop

With a new generation of power stations due to come online in the coming decades, new transmission lines will be needed to connect new sources of power generation, such as wind farms and nuclear power plants. National Grid’s more sophisticated approach to the visual impact of transmission lines reflects collaboration with the government and builds on the recently-designated National Policy Statements.

On May 23 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.

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.

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, journalist Jonathan Glancey, Scottish Power representative Jim Sutherland and former RIBA president Ruth Reed.

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

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