pylon competition

These new pylons for the UK Nation Grid project use a very different visual language to that of the old steel lattice constructions. Thanks to their contemporary interpretation of British natural flora, elegant form and restrained colour they are less disruptive and blend well with the British landscape. Furthermore they are both cost-effective, have low energy manufacturing consumption, and are recyclable.

The form evolves from the imagery of the English Oak through rationalisation and development to meet the constraints of functional pylon. The spacial configuration is the reaction of the forces of nature that surround it (wind, light, temperature and many others). The new branches will flex in reaction to the forces influencing them. These pylons should not sit still in the landscape but flourish as a poetic element within its environment creating its own imagery in the very different landscapes across the UK.

These developed branches are constructed as components and secretly fixed and connected internally. Each branch has the possibility to be rotated making it possible for bespoke designs and aiding in the layout of the conductor cables. We propose to look at the manufacture of all the structural sections in a wood composite, an infused Bamboo Carbon Epoxy which has low electrical transmission properties. BCE is proven to be the cheapest, lightest and stiffest compared with all other composite make-ups. Replacing traditional artificial high energy consumption composites materials with natural low energy material (bamboo) greatly reduces carbon emissions resulting from manufacture.

The new pylons are also advantageous regarding maintenance. Because of the simple and smooth structure they are less prone to damage. The greatest percentage of maintenance will be due to the traditional design of the insulators. Our concept allows for an integrated high pressure washing system contained within the oversized structural core of the insulators, exiting between the sheds. Cleaning fluid would be pumped from the base of each pylon reducing man power and creating a significantly safer work environment.