Back in May, we offered up a somewhat melancholic post about the Royal Institute of British Architects launching the Pylon Design Competition, a project searching to replace the massive electric towers that dot rural landscapes internationally. At the time, we were prematurely mourning the loss of those iconic metal structures that we’d grown up imagining as giant robots as they passed by on road trips. However, now that the contest’s shortlist has been released, we realize we had no reason to be concerned, as there’s only so much you can do to redesign a structure whose sole purpose is to hold wires high above the ground except to make them more attractive. Six entries have made the shortlist, each a much more aesthetically pleasing rendition of what we have now, some a bit more pronounced and others attempting to slink into the background, going unnoticed. Here’s a bit about our favorite, the “Flower Tower,” designed by Gustafson Porter with Atelier One and Pfisterer:
Flower Tower expresses the transmission of energy through forms associated with nature. In elevation, the Flower Tower reads like a bouquet of flowers or leaves. The bunching together of several ‘stems’ creates structural stiffness at the base. These stems are tied together by connecting plates and horizontal bridges which allow access to maintain the cables. Arcs defined by the cable clearance swings generate curving ‘leaves’, which splay out from the stem. The earth wire is held by a spike or ‘flower’ at the top of the tower.