As transmission grids around the globe prepare for overhauls and upgrades to accommodate more renewable energy power sources, Iceland has already taken a look at how to better the design of their high-voltage transmission pylons. This incredible "Land of Giants" proposal by Boston firm Choi + Shine Architects transforms mundane electrical pylons into towering statues -- gods of power and electricity that hold up high-voltage transmission lines as they cross the Icelandic landscape.
Choi + Shine’s project was an honorable mention in an international design competition held in 2008 by Iceland’s transmission line firm Landset and the Association of Icelandic Architects to transform mundane power pylons into something more visually appealing. The design actually only requires slight alterations to the current structure of the steel-framed towers in order to create human-like figures. The giant sculptures are all constructed from the same mass assembled parts (torso, fore arm, upper leg, hand etc.) and they use a library of pre-assembled joints to create each figure’s appearance and stance.
Elevating the pylons and lines from mere industrial necessities into a works of art might help people appreciate the importance of the electric grid. Additionally, the figures could be altered or positioned in a way that provides a sense of place within the landscape. For instance, the figures could stand straight and tall over long flat spans to increase the line height, or they could crouch when there is need for a greater strength to stand up to the tension of the wires. Gestures, like hand or head placement, could also affect the look of the figures and provide variety along long stretches of power lines.
Choi + Shine recently received the top award from the Boston Society of Architects in the category of Unbuilt Architecture for 2010.