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Pylon Competition Update

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Today’s Guardian newspaper had images of the shortlist for the pylon competition I wrote about in an earlier post. Here are the six shortlisted entries.

1) T-Pylon by Bystrup Architecture, Design & Engineering
Materials: Hot dip galvanized steel with a paint finish and as alternatives Cor-Ten steel, stainless steel, and hot dip galvanized without paint.
What the judges liked: This proposal postulates simple vertical and horizontal members. It has a classic appearance and elegance, yet its starting point is a pure engineering response.

2) Silhouette by Ian Ritchie Architects and Jane Wernick Associates
Materials: Base: Exposed concrete Structure: Mild Steel hot dip galvanized and painted Exterior finish: Stainless Clad, Steel plate (2mm thick)
What the judges liked: This proposal is for the pylon as a sculptural object within the landscape. The overall effect and sophistication of the expression made this entry stand out aesthetically – particularly when considered in silhouette against the horizon

3) Flower Tower by Gustafson Porter with Atelier One, and Pfisterer
Materials: Painted Galvanised Steel
What the judges liked: The panel were impressed by the elegance of this submission which had been well developed into a contemporary, sculptural – yet technically inventive and feasible option

4) Plexus by Al-A with Arup
Materials: Steel or Composites
What the judges liked: Tension and lightness are emphasised by this sophisticated design. Its design is very much of its time and the panel admired the grace of this visually dynamic proposal

(Does the above entry remind anyone else of van Gogh’s “Wheatfield under Cloudy Sky”?)

5) Y-Pylon by Knight Architects with Roughan & O’Donavon, and ESB International in association with MEGA
Materials: Carbon Steel, Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP), Silicon Rubber
What the judges liked: An extremely simple yet sophisticated idea, with a high degree of engineering innovation integrated into a coherent design

6) Totem by New Town Studio, with Structure Workshop
Materials: Tower: Steel Painted Arms: Electrically insulating composite material, painted to match tower
What the judges liked: The panel enjoyed the simplicity yet sophistication of this idea. The decreasing density of structure as the pylon ascended to the sky was both logical and enjoyable, the whole effect was one of disappearance and permeability

You can vote for the one you like, here.

Me, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the pylons we have now but, for what it’s worth, if I had to choose from this lot, I’d first disqualify 2, 4 and 5 for not using the suggested photo, as the rules stated. And I’d then disqualify 2 once more, along with 3, for only showing one pylon – not a whole series of them crossing the countryside. I’d then disqualify 2 a third time for its “dramatic” sky, and 3 a second time for pumping up the colour saturation in the countryside, and 4 a second time for its PC wallpaper landscape complete with pretty flowers, birds and an improbably blue sky.

Either 1 or 6 deserve to win. They have the least to hide.

P.S. Here’s a couple that didn’t make the final six. For more of the story, go here.