Aesthetic Overhead Line Structures Competition Entry 2014

This design transforms a structure of necessity into a beautiful collections of undulating forms. The apparent movement and rhythm of the design creates an unforgettable journey, and memorable experience of place.

The design divides each mast’s main column into multiple, similarly sized members to break the visual hierarchy of its components, and uses these delicate members throughout the structure. This unites the elements of each mast into a single, figurative sculpture that is identifiable on the landscape.

Stop Motion Photographs, The Horse In Motion, Eadweard Muybridge, 1878

Study Models

Early Sketches

Superimposed Side Elevations

Superimposed Plans

Front Elevation

By employing the concept of time and movement, the essence of high speed rail travel is captured. Each subsequent mast slightly alters its member’s position, creating a family of forms that varies subtly along the route. At the beginning of the journey, the structures appear as superimposed figures. Then, as the train moves, the figures appear to separate themselves, approaching the passengers one by one. A high speed train’s passengers will see the structures as a moving image, each appearing about every half-second. Like kineograph, each form’s slight difference creates the illusion of movement from a intended sequence of static forms.

Despite these variations, both the portal and single mast are fabricated from a few number of similar elements reducing fabrication and installation costs. A standardized kit of parts can be field assembled and adjusted, creating variations with adjustable joints to manipulate the form and to accommodate line heights.

A uniform structure that repeats has a strong visual impact, but this conformity can become monotonous. 

“Our minds react to a contrast, to the difference between things. A vivid contrast is felt and [the structure] become visible in a deeper sense.”

The variation in repetition and movement of this design enables this structures to be recognized as a landmark.

Bird Diagram

Feeder Wire

Earth Wire

Catenary Wire

Contact Wire

Portal Frame Sketch

Portal Frame Diagram

Feeder Wire

Catenary Wire

Contact Wire


Portal Frame Structural Diagram

Foreshortened Portal Masts

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