ENEL Power Pylons

Industrial Design

This environmentally sensitive solution for a high-voltage power pylon won joint first place in a competition held by ENEL - the Italian National Electricity Company - and is being installed throughout Italy. It rethinks the design of these vast objects from first principles, abandoning the ‘Christmas tree’ configuration in which cables are supported on arms sprouting from a mast, and suggesting a more elegant, streamlined approach.

The pylon is formed of two elegantly curved armatures. These rise from the ground and meet to create an A-frame before diverging again to form two arms. These arms work structurally as inclined cantilevers, sharing the loads from the transmission cables, which are neatly grouped in an equilateral triangle - the most compact arrangement possible allowing for the necessary safety clearances between each of the cables and the supporting structure.

Designed for mass production, the pylon is efficient in terms of materials, manufacture and installation. Constructed from carbon-steel, which is hot-dip galvanised to provide anti-corrosion protection, each pylon is manufactured as eight lightweight, prefabricated components to facilitate transportation and installation on remote sites. Components are bolted together and no on-site welding is required. The pylon can be built to varying heights to suit different situations.

  • Appointment 1999
  • Completion 2000
  • Height 72m
  • Client Terna Spa, Gruppo Enel
  • Structural Engineer Arup
  • Quantity Surveyor Davis Langdon