Walking in the Land of Giants

As a petite woman of merely five feet, I’ve grown used to feeling just a bit smaller than the general population. But with Jin Choi & Thomas Shine’s Land of Giants project (as reported by Bustler.com), I certainly won’t be the only one feeling miniature.


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Choi+Shine Architects, the Brookline, Massachusetts based firm, was recently awarded the 2010 Boston Society of Architects Unbuilt Architecture Award for this striking project. The project was initially entered in an Icelandic competition to find a new typology for Iceland's high voltage power lines and pylons, where it received an honorable mention. It’s the Hulk meets Giacometti, meets Grecian caryatids, as Choi and Shine morph commonplace electrical pylons into supportive statues. These enormous 150-ft. pylon-figures tower over the Icelandic landscape, marching with power-lines in hand. The brilliant design maintains the traditional steel-framed tower design while adding a twist that introduces monumental sculpture to a previously lacking industry.


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Designed to be placed within the Icelandic landscape, the pylon-figures will respond to their undulating environment—just like real humans. They can be configured to climb, crouch, bend, and stretch, as they march through the landscape “carrying” the wires. But Choi and Shine don’t stop there. Although these figures may be made from metal, that doesn’t mean they can’t radiate emotive expression. By altering their “body language”—head tilt, hand positions, and walking direction—through minor adjustments, the designers have given these pylons eerie human qualities. Some even walk in pairs, glancing at each other so convincingly, that one nearly forgets that they are inanimate.


With this award-winning design, Choi and Shine turn mundane power-lines into contemporary, monumental sculpture. As a design student, I marvel at designs such as this that seamlessly and ingeniously unite function and aesthetic.      


–Zoe Namerow, editorial intern  

One Comment

  1. What an innovative concept! You summed it up perfectly – "ingeniously unites function and aesthetic." Thanks for sharing this.