This month sees a departure from the normal for Pylon of the Month. The picture above is of a pylon that has not yet been built. It is, however, the winning design in the recent "Pylons of the Future" international competition run by Italian energy supplier Terna. The picture comes from the winning design team, HDA Hugh Dutton Associés (download your own copy here). Hugh Dutton gave this explanation of the design:
‘Our own design response is based on changing the current ‘industrial soldier’ image of today’s pylons. Primarily by an elegant shape whose form is inspired by nature instead of galvanized trellises. And secondly by what I called “dancing with nature” where the pylons lean and swerve in response to the topography. They find a structural equilibrium by leaning into the curve of the electric cables as they follow the constraints of the landscape.’
You can even watch a video about the wining design.
An earlier post referred to the book The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain De Botton which has a very thoughtful discussion about a reluctance to see pylons as anything other than eyesores despite their elegant structure and importance to the way we live our lives now. Jonathan Glancey (also mentioned previously) on Pylon of the Month) also covers this in an article from 1995. Perhaps the new design of pylons will do something to change public perceptions. Whilst I am on the subject of 'The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work', I must mention the wonderful exhibition of pictures from the book which is currently running at the Oxford History of Science Museum. The pictures are by Richard Baker and are accompanied by text from the book. The curator, Stephen Johnston, has produced a wonderfully thought provoking exhibition that is free to visit. I can't recommend it strongly enough if you are in the Oxford area.