T-shaped design by Bystrup could be next generation of pylon design

A design by Danish architect Bystrup has won the RIBA-run competition to design a new generation of electricity pylons for the National Grid.

The design, called the T-Pylon, has beaten competition from five other shortlisted practices, including high profile architects Ian Ritchie, Amanda Levete, Arup and Gustafson Porter.

National Grid will now work with Bystrup to develop its T-Pylon design further, though it cannot by guaranteed to be the exact design for the new pylons.

National Grid has also said it wants to do further work with Ian Ritchie Associates on its Silhouette design, and New Town Studio’s Totem design. The winner will receive £5,000 prize money and the five other finalists will each receive £1,000.

The award comes despite the design by Amanda Levete and Arup having won most of the plaudits when the six finalists were unveiled. A poll of Building readers found 46% supported Levete’s design, named Plexus. Bystrup’s design came second, with 22% of the vote.

Energy secretary Chris Huhne said the competition had successfully brought forward new and creative approaches to pylon design. “This is an innovative design which is simple, classical and practical. Its ingenious structure also means that it will be much shorter and smaller than existing pylons and therefore less intrusive.”

Nick Winser, executive director of the National Grid said: “In the T-Pylon we have a design that has the potential to be a real improvement on the steel lattice tower. It’s shorter, lighter and the simplicity of the design means it would fit into the landscape more easily. In addition, the design of the electrical components is genuinely innovative and exciting.

“However, the Totem and Silhouette designs are worthy of further consideration - both of them have strong visual appeal and characteristics that could work well in different landscapes.

In total 250 entrants submitted ideas. The judging panel consisted of Chris Huhne, Nicholas Winser, former director of the V&A, Sir Mark Jones, architects Sir Nicholas Grimshaw and Bill Taylor, engineer Chris Wise, journalist Jonathan Glancey, landscape architect Andrew Grant, Scottish Power’s Jim Sutherland and Ruth Reed, former president of the RIBA.