Ian Ritchie nets joint first in pylon contest

Ian Ritchie Architects and French engineer Marc Mimran are joint winners of a competition to design new overhead pylons for the French electricity network, Electricite De France (EDF).

Both winners, who triumphed over an international field of designers including Philippe Starck and Jean-Michel Wilmotte, are developing full-sized prototypes. The first new pylons will be installed within two years.

London-based Ian Ritchie worked with Paris consultancy RFR and landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson on the winning design. The pylons will carry high- voltage cables across France.

Ritchie’s design is for an elliptical steel plate mast with a cross-arm, rising to 45m. The design features electrical isolators hanging down, but Ritchie says future versions will have the isolators up above the arm to allow for easier hanging of cables by helicopter and to bring the total height of the pylons down by about 8m.

* Ian Ritchie Architects was among the shortlisted practices behind winner Michael Wilford & Partners in the contest to design a ú20m British Embassy in Berlin.

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