Art Here and Now
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The Electrical Colossus Ascends Icelandic Peaks

From the moment we began pumping electricity out to homes and businesses, we chose a completely utilitarian path. The designs for cables and towers were great invention and engineering. But what they looked like was solely based on use, not the people who had to live with them. How would a mass of cables look against the sky? How would electrical poles line the streets? How would electrical pylons break across the landscape?

A design competition was held by Landsnet, the national power company of Iceland, in cooperation with the Association of Icelandic Architects. Choi and Shine Architects proposed a new design for Icelandic electrical pylons so beautiful, yet so natural, you wonder why we didn’t build them this way to start with. And they cost no more than what we’ve built before.

These electrical pylons are in human form, the human arms and hands holding the electrical lines they carry. The human figures can be posed in different ways depending on the landscape they live on. Figures on the sides of mountains can appear to be climbing. Scaling down, they may appear to carefully side step, keeping balance. When two figures pass each other, they can look back to each other, even sharing glances. These human forms and poses are created using duplicated components and scaffolds similar to those used in traditional pylons.

“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.”

All images and designs © 2010 Choi+Shine Architects, LLC. All rights reserved.

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posted by Trout Monfalco