30
May

2012

Beautiful Tower and Pylon Infrastructure

Post by Steven Dale

Design Depot's spherical lattice towers.

The tower infrastructure associated with cable transit is justifiably maligned. It’s utilitarian and rarely pretty. But it doesn’t have to be.

Last year, the Royal Institute of British Architects tackled this very issue through their Pylon Design Competition. Now granted, that competition was specifically targeted towards electricity transmission towers, but the same applies here. (Note, you can see all the short-listed design concepts here.)

Flower Tower Concept by Gustafson Porter with Atelier One and Pfisterer.

As we’ve seen with systems like Portland and London, tower infrastructure can be a piece of artistry. Towers such as those are admittedly expensive rarities but only because they’re, well, rare.

That’s simple Supply and Demand working there. Beautiful towers are rarely in demand; which leads to non-existent supply; which, in turn, leads to increased cost.

The flip side of that, of course, is that if more beautiful towers are demanded, then the cost of beautiful towers will come down. And everything I’m hearing from cities contemplating cable propelled transit systems, suggests that change is not long off.

Cities (or more exactly, politicians and policy-makers) don’t like the idea of awful-looking lattice towers cluttering up their backyards and that’s likely to drive a sea-change within the industry. If not now, then some time in the near-to-mid future. The companies that figure that out and learn how to provide pre-fabricated, yet beautiful tower infrastructure will be at a clear competitive advantage in the urban market.

Remember: Ugly is nothing more than an opportunity to be beautiful.

In the meantime, take a look at a handful of tower designs (some realized) I managed to pull from around the web and imagine how you might use them in a cable transit design of your own:

Russia's Design Depot came up with this gorgeously whimsical take on the classic lattice tower.

 

Mulhouse, France's Tramway Pylons. Image via flickr user michallon.

Iceland's Choi + Shine Architects' award-winning "Land of Giants" transmission tower concept.

Enessere's wood and steel Hercules wind turbine.



Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

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Comments

  1. Mickey Mouse electricity pylons in Orlando: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thinkovation/4291960256/
  2. these are awesome!