• Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Type: Infrastructure
  • Proposed: 2008

The Land of Giants™ : Icelandic Pylon Competition Entry

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 pylon- figures 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.

Award Winner

2010 Boston Society of Architects Unbuilt Architecture

Design Recognition Award

Icelandic High-Voltage Electrical Pylon International Design Competition

Finalist

The 36Th Annual Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition

"The 'Land of Giants' is a poem for the eyes."

Elmar Burchia, Corriere Della Sera, Aug 17, 2010

"One of the “...beautiful ideas by the world’s best creative brains.”"

Dezeen Book of Ideas

"Miraculous steel giants who tread on the Icelandic fjords... Would not that be something for Germany? Filigree steel giants, strutting through the Ruhr’s Emsland direction?"

Von Marlies Uken, Zeit, Germany

"The most extraordinary power poles in the world."

Die Welt, Austria

"One of the coolest ideas... the high-voltage monsters suddenly transformed into a major tourist attraction."

Dagsavien, Norway

"...we (the curators) were like kids on Christmas morning delicately opening out presents."

Sean Tudor, Canada Science and Technology Museum

"If power lines have to be above ground, then why not create works of art in the transfer of energy. Fantastic imagination, instead of dreading the dreaded pylons, folks will take trips to see what different works are in place."

Die Welt, Austria

"The most extraordinary power poles in the world"

Designboom

"I’ve often pondered the ugliness of pylons. Could they ever be beautiful? Thanks to this concept the answer is yes. Not just beautiful, but poetic. Never mind practicality - imaginative concepts lead the way to the future. If extra-terrestrials ever visited us and saw this was the way we handled our power lines, they would know that we were truly civilized."

Dezeen

"These are SO beautiful and exactly what good design is all about - not just making something inherently ugly a bit less ugly and noticeable, but turning it right round and making it completely beautiful."

Dezeen

(Additional press coverage...)