RIBA Pylon Design


Client: RIBA / DECC / National Grid

Location: UK

RIBA, on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and National Grid, launched an open ideas competition to rethink one of the most crucial but controversial features of the modern British landscape: the electricity pylon. OOBE joined forces with an emerging practice of engineers, Studio Horn, to develop a design inspired by nature which was selected from over 250 entries onto a long list of 33.

RIBA Pylon Design Concept Sketch

A new electricity pylon inspired by Nature's genius

Whilst the existing lattice pylons are highly efficient, functional and have proudly stood the test of time – their appearance is somewhat clumsy – ‘all arms and legs’, lacking grace and sophistication. We looked to nature for a model to solve this human problem and consciously emulated Nature’s genius. The result was a simple pod form created by an elegant ribbon like shell that wraps around the conductors and insulator strings. Our proposal simply pulls ‘the arms’ back into the main body of the structure, whilst respecting the technical constraints, to create a cohesive form or object that appears to protect its inner electrical components. The structure offered a high degree of flexibility and adaptability as pods or cells could simply be added to as necessary to meet increased energy demands without impacting on the integrity of the form – one which is logical, efficient, safe and a beautiful object in the landscape.

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