High Voltage Transmisison Line Towers
by Arphenotype



Architect Dietmar Koering of Arphenotype has designed these electricity pylons for a competition to envisage a new power transmission network in Iceland.


Each pylon would be between 17 and 32 metres tall, with the shape of each one varying according to its longitude and latitude.


"A parametric code drives the heights in an continuous gradient, which will be manufactured physically through help of milling machines," says Koering.


"Once the parameters are set, it is just the location of tower by latitude and longitude that will result in unique towers," he continues.


The towers would be prefabricated and mounted on concrete foundation.


The project was devised for a competition organised by Icelandic electrical transmission company Landsnet and the Association of Icelandic Architects.


Here's some more information from Arphenotype:


Project: High Voltage Transmisison Line Towers for Iceland

Adaptability is an distinction of evolution, but today’s instant variations in [virtual] extended phenotypes call for something stronger: adaptability of nature! In nature material is used with optimum efficiency. Cells continually adapt to precisely fulfil their function.

Through researching organic forms and their production methods the intelligence of the material itself should support the design language, the lightness and stiffness. Fibrous systems and computation is the answer for this new task. Fibrous system in biology: inspiration! Like in the evolution through phenotypes, the production is based on a clear code; where the evolution part and the random variation is bounded to the specific landscape and site.

Architectural form and its relationship to nature, environment and society has rich antecedents to the human body. The idea is that the power net is building one main spine of nowadays society which enables living on a high standard in an age of communication; therefore the spines of the power net reflects an organic language.

The organic structure is covered with a high reflective “lotus-effect” colour. It will be cleaned through natural weather conditions and will reflect the nature itself, which strengthens the idea of a graphical integration to the landscape. The final tower will blend into its environment physical and virtual. It creates a feedback loop in the observed system.

Each transmission tower is shaped in height between 17m and 32m by computer-driven equipment according to its site / longitude and latitude. This approach permits the structures to be modelled and easily fabricated translating into a reasonable cost.


For maximum strength and stability the construction method is based on the idea of a Tripod (tripods are related to triangles which will support the overall stiffness of the shape). The 3D data is optimally suited to adapt the change of the landscape. “… to monitor feedback from the surroundings.”; a parametric code drives the heights in an continuous gradient, which will be manufactured physically through help of milling machines. Once the parameters are set, it is just the location of tower by latitude and longitude, which will result in unique towers.


The main material used for the towers is an aramid-fibre-matrix bounded with eco resin through thermosetting, which gives the material stability to degration, UV, weathering and wind. The main structure will be built through filament winding and resin transfer moulding. This material allows also in computer aided manufacturing an organic design language without much more costs. The thickness of the material will change through the whole system, calculated by software to adapt the stiffness to site + location and natural forces like wind.

The towers will be prefabricated and mounted on site on concrete foundation, which will support the idea of natural material on site.

Today’s pursuit to build lightweight for economic, material engineering and environmental reasons is the logical response to today’s changing society where flexibility is the prime survival quality.


Once the system is set up it will be a leading manufacturing site for fibrous systems. It will not be bounded to specific design, because of its open system it will adapt different locations which will result in a world leading production company for transmission line towers for a world wide market. The high tech environment makes it hard to copy the design language and production method, which leads to a unique company.

Posted on Monday March 30th 2009 at 10:02 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Only one word: unrealistic!

  • The materialout of which the tower is to be built has not been used in this kind of huge structure. What about maintenance, repairs, wind pressure strength,……. ???

  • Minimalist

    It shows that there is absolutely no technical project understanding on the designers side. Current structures are designed for max structural integrity with a minimal use of material, easy and standardized component replacement, and lowest cost to the current system.
    It is Perdy … but everyting else about it is non-sense.
    If money should be invested into the grid, it should be done so with wind-mills and solar-plants … not alienized poles.

  • Denis

    To Parametricist:

    Cancer ??? Yeah, right !!! The electromagnetic field of the Earth is stronger than any generated by power lines… No (serious) studies have been able to prove without a doubt the relation between cancer and power lines.

    Anyway, this kind of structure is not useful in any way. It is just a futile effort, and it doesn’t solve anything.

  • osama

    there is no problem that tower design to solve !!!!!!!

  • osama elged

    it is a fantastic invention to manufacture towers by this shapes which are completely different from ours in EGYPT. can you send me a PDF for this towers included informations about design , price , factory of this towers .
    waiting your kindly reply

  • Jordan

    The entry in the shape of human figures was a LOT more creative and beautiful. These are boring and pointless. I am appalled.

  • Andex

    I think by itself its an interesting statement, but when you see countless repetitions of the same complex form across the landscape, it becomes really redundant.

  • confusedcius

    why didn't they put a turbine on each? could be made in beautiful shapes too why not, and there goes your loss of power in transmission at one stroke. big enough turbines and we could forget the 50bn cost of each new nuclear station. The grid as it's own generation system. Ok just off to redesign these resin things in a sensible material, make them all nice straight lines that can be built, describe them in plain english and put some ladders up them.
    so I only just got up, whatever