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RIBA Pylon Design Ideas Competition

This new RIBA Competition invites architects, engineers, designers and university level students of these disciplines to come up with proposals for a new generation of electricity pylon. As well as exploring the design of the ‘object’, this competition also seeks to explore the relationship between our energy infrastructure and the environment within which it needs to be located. The challenge is to design a pylon that has the potential to deliver for future generations, whilst balancing the needs of UK’s communities and preserving the beauty of UK’s countryside.

A prize fund of £10,000 will be awarded to the winners (£5,000 to the outright winner and £1,000 to each of the shortlisted candidates).


The challenging target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, means substantial change in our energy infrastructure with electricity becoming an increasingly important part of our energy mix. In order to deliver that electricity to our homes, communities and businesses, the UK will see a significant increase in the number of pylons, together with underground cables.

This network of pylons and cables have the potential to transform our landscapes for good or bad, and for generations to come.

The competition aims to help initiate and inform this debate through the vehicle of design and to explore the potential for a new generation of pylon within our landscapes.

The competition is a call for ideas only with no commitment beyond the competition to develop any of the schemes. However, in the event that the winning scheme or schemes are built then the authors will be fully involved in the design development process, and credited accordingly. Entrants invited to stage two will be expected to further explore the viability of their proposals therefore this should be borne in mind from the outset.

The competition will run as follows :

  • Stage 1: Submission of concept designs, from which a shortlist of up to six will be selected and invited to proceed to stage two.
  • Stage 2: Stage two will involve further exploration and refinement of the stage one design ideas. This stage will commence with one-to-one briefing sessions with shortlisted designers and technical advisers from National Grid. Feedback from stage one judging will also be available during this session. The refined submissions will be subject to a web-based public consultation exercise, and a technical appraisal. Feedback from both will be made available to the Jury Panel in their final deliberations.

Please consider that the registration deadline for the Pylon Design Competition is 5 July 2011.


A prize fund of £10,000 will be awarded to the winners (£5,000 to the outright winner and £1,000 to each of the shortlisted candidates).


  • Submissions are invited from suitably qualified architects, engineers and related design disciplines. University level students of the same disciplines are also eligible to make a submission.
  • Architectural models will not be accepted at stage one, however photographs of models may be included on the design board if used to develop the proposal.
  • All documentation (including the CD’s) should be clearly marked with the unique identification number which will be issued upon registration.

How to enter?

You may only submit an entry to the competition if you are officially registered through RIBA Competitions.

The design of each competitor is to be contained in a single package and is to be sent, carriage paid, addressed to:

RIBA Pylon Competition
RIBA Competitions
5th Floor, The Studio
32 The Calls

Entry fee

The competition is subject to a non-refundable registration and administration fee of £50 (plus VAT). There is a reduced registration fee of £15 (plus VAT) for students.