words Beatrice Galilee
Birmingham city centre is home to a sparkling, 29m-high electricity pylon, standing gracefully on a square of cornfield in Victoria Square.
The piece was created by London-based practice Block Architecture for CABE, as part of a series of installations for the city’s climate change festival. The steel pylon was specially made for the project and plated in polished nickel to create a reflective surface. It will be “upcycled” after use, which means it will become a fully functioning pylon, complete with its shiny surface, in a field in the UK.
The architects hope the presence of the incongruous object so explicitly associated with power – but rarely seen close at hand – will draw attention to the problems of energy use in cities. “Instead of using cliches we are looking at drawing people’s attention to the reality, the everyday facts of energy use,” says project architect Rupert Scott. “It’s interesting that the place that we use the most energy, and where the most damage is done, is where it is the least visible.”
images Leon Chew
top image The steel pylon is nickel-plated, polished to create a reflective surface