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Pylon figure Iceland : Architecture
Iceland Pylon figure – design by Choi+Shine, Architects
The project was initially submitted for a 2008 competition held by the Icelandic power transmission company, Landsnet, in conjunction with the Association of Icelandic Architects.
The submitted design received honorable mention and at the award ceremony, Landsnet asked us to submit the design of our female pylon-figure, which we had shown as a sketch on the competition board. Landsnet expressed interest in building the male and female pylon-figures, but perhaps due to Iceland’s unfortunate economic crisis, the pylon-figures have not (yet) been constructed.
“These designs were submitted as a competition entry in March of 2008 to Landsnet, Iceland national power transmission company who was working in collaboration with the Association of Icelandic Architects. The competition’s goal was to obtain new ideas in types and appearances for 220kV high- voltage towers and lines. The competition emphasized that specific consideration be given to the visual impact of the towers (or lines) and that careful consideration be given to the appearance of towers near urban areas and unsettled regions.
“The competitors were free to choose whether all the towers would have a new look, particular towers and selected environments would have a new look, or whether the appearance of known types of towers would be altered. In addition, it was left up to the competitors whether the design would blend into the landscape in rural and urban areas, or the tower/towers would stand out as objects.
“The main goal of the competition was that a new type of tower/towers would emerge, altering the overall appearance of line routes and that towers could be developed further with respect to environmental impact, the electromagnetic field lifetime and cost.
“The competition was advertised in Iceland and abroad. -adapted from the selection committee’s competition report, 2008
This male and female pylon-figures were submitted for the Boston Society of Architects Unbuilt Architecture Award in June 2010.
We are still hopeful that the pylon-figures may be built.
Pylon figure, Iceland, images / information from Choi+Shine, Architects
Pylon figure Iceland – Land of Giants
This design transforms mundane electrical pylons into statues on the Icelandic landscape.
Making only minor alterations to well established steel-framed tower design, we have created a series of towers that are powerful, solemn and variable. These iconic pylon-figures will become monuments in the landscape. Seeing the pylonfigures will become an unforgettable experience, elevating the towers to something more than merely a functional design of necessity.
The pylon-figures can be configured to respond to their environment with appropriate gestures. As the carried electrical lines ascend a hill, the pylon-figures change posture, imitating a climbing person. Over long spans, the pylon-figure stretches to gain increased height, crouches for increased strength or strains under the weight of the wires.
In addition, the pylon-figures can also be arranged to create a sense of place through deliberate expression. Subtle alterations in the hands and head combined with repositioning of the main body parts in the x, y and z-axis, allow for a rich variety of expressions. The pylon-figures can be placed in pairs, walking in the same direction or opposite directions, glancing at each other as they pass by or kneeling respectively, head bowed at a town.
Despite the large number of possible forms, each pylon-figure is made from the same major assembled parts (torso, fore arm, upper leg, hand etc.) and uses a library of pre-assembled joints between these parts to create the pylon-figures’ appearance.
This design allows for many variations in form and height while the pylon-figures’ cost is kept low through identical production, simple assembly and construction.
The pylon-figures are designed to provide supports for the conductors, ground wires and other cables all within required clearances. These clearances are maintained in the various shown positions. The towers are largely self-supporting, sitting on concrete footings, perhaps with the addition of guy wires, depending on requirements of the loading wires.
Like the statues of Easter Island, it is envisioned that these one hundred and fifty foot tall, modern caryatids will take on a quiet authority, belonging to their landscape yet serving the people, silently transporting electricity across all terrain, day and night, sunshine or snow.
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Iceland Architecture Designs – chronological list
Pylon Design Project
Electricity Pylons for the EdF, France (400kV)
Ian Ritchie Architects
Iceland Buildings – Selection
The Icelandic National Concert & Conference Centre, Reykjavik
Henning Larsen Architects
image from architect
Icelandic Concert & Conference Centre
Vatnsmýri Urban Plan
Graeme Massie Architects
image from architect
Iceland Urban Plan
Supreme Court building
photo : Sigurgeir Sigurjonsson
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Pylon Figures Iceland – page