Mind & Matter


Electric Caryatids

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Land of Giants by Choi + Shine Architects.


Despite the significant environmental and visual influence of infrastructure and civil engineering projects, architects rarely participate in their design and planning. When architects do get involved, conventional strategies include minimizing the physical reality of the work or applying aesthetic flourishes to a predetermined structure.

Choi + Shine Architects’ recent proposal of a new typology for Iceland’s high-voltage power lines and pylons suggests an alternative strategy. Despite the ubiquity of common electric utility structures, they are rarely noticed. However, Choi + Shine’s “Land of Giants” proposal brings immediate attention to this unexploited project type. The Boston-based firm’s anthropomorphic modification of traditional power-line supports represents an intriguing convergence of science and art at a highly visible scale. At turns whimsical, haunting, and poetic, Land of Giants proposes skeletal caryatids for an electric age.



Comments (1 Total)

  • Posted by: Anonymous | Time: 9:11 AM Monday, August 16, 2010

    ...avante garde...sublime....rather beautiful.

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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.