Arts

Modern Infrastructure Transformed

By Adrian Duyzer
Published August 20, 2010

An innovative design by Choi+Shine Architects for high-voltage hydro pylons in Iceland proposes turning them into statues of human figures carrying the lines.

Hydro pylons as sculptures
Hydro pylons as sculptures (Image credit: Choi+Shine Architects)

They describe the effect as unforgettable:

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.

Multiple positions
Multiple positions (Image credit: Choi+Shine Architects)

This is a truly interesting demonstration of how the built form of industry and infrastructure can be modified to take on significance beyond just pure functionality. Rather than scarring the landscape, these pylons work with it. They communicate both the immense power of the electricity carried over the lines and the human effort required to transport it across great distances over often-harsh terrain.

I'd be very curious to see what First Nations artists could do with a concept like this. Imagine what First Nations-inspired hydro pylons could look like stretching across Northern Ontario.

Male and female figures
Male and female figures (Image credit: Choi+Shine Architects)

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

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By frank (registered) | Posted August 20, 2010 at 14:20:27

COOL!!

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2010 at 15:19:58

Someone has to do this here!

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2010 at 16:27:38

Y-M-C-A-!

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted August 20, 2010 at 16:33:04

WOW!

and LMAO @ "YMCA".

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By cityfan (registered) | Posted August 20, 2010 at 20:23:35

What the hell??? that is freaky!! aliens can see that from outerspace!lol

Comment edited by cityfan on 2010-08-20 19:24:03

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By ingenue (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2010 at 22:28:34

they'd at least make the post-apocalypse a bit more interesting

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By LoveIt (anonymous) | Posted August 21, 2010 at 11:24:47

Interesting, but I'd rather see more solar panels, than electric lines.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 21, 2010 at 12:21:14

It must be pointed out that power lines use about as much electricity in America as Agriculture (~7%). Because electricity generation is centralized (a conscious choice from the beginning by people like Edison to maximize monopoly profits), we lose massive amounts of energy pumping it along these lines. And then there's the steel, copper, land and other resources (often tons of pesticides) used by them. And the way that major power line infrastructure tends to be decided upon in a lot of the same ways highways are: in order to encourage development, rather than out of any actual need.

The most efficient way to generate power is as close to the user as possible. There's a myth journalists like to report on that we're "suddenly learning that large-scale renewables can be bad for the environment too".

Suddenly? Where were they during the Hydro Dam battles of the 1970s? Many environmentalists hate hydro dams almost as much as coal for what they do to rivers and landscapes.

What I'd like to see is small vertical turbines mounted on all our power lines and telephone poles. Or in areas where it's more suited, solar panels. Don't tell me these giant metal structures built into massive grass clearings don't already have great exposure. As for the VAWT mounts, they could pose these "guys"...have a "statue of liberty" model, a "King arthur" and perhaps even an "Olympic torch runner". Decentralized energy of one form or another is clearly the way of the future, and it would be a shame to let all this infrastructure go to waste.

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By Hitthat (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2013 at 23:52:37

It wasn't Edison, it was Tesla and it was more about efficiency and safety than it was monopoly. I would like to see more environmentalists studying as much technology as they do biology. If you wanna be a pothead, the least you could do is make yourself useful...just sayin'.

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