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The Pylon Network: Off The Grid

The Pylon Network: A Toolkit for Off-Grid Living - Longlisted for the Davidson Prize 2024

The Pylon Network is a new model of housing designed for off-grid, energy conscious living where pylon residents hold active agency over the construction, design and energy production of their own home. Utilising over 90,000 pylons slowly being decommissioned or displaced from the National Grid as a framework for new homes, the proposal suggests ways in which residents may repurpose and retrofit the industrial monolithic steel frame as a comfortable off-grid living environment. Here, the iconic post-industrial structure becomes a metaphor for a decentralised housing system, providing future inhabitants with a toolkit to disassemble and adapt according to their needs, with each pylon producing at least one domestic unit depending on number of inhabitants, and different pylon sections being used to form clusters of domestic and productive spaces. The steel structure acts as a support for locally sourced reclaimed and bio-based materials, such as compressed earth, reeds or hempcrete. Responding to the collective crises of ecology, energy, and public housing in the context of ‘adaptive reuse’, the proposal reimagines a post-industrial landscape in which ecological mindfulness and technological advancement allow for decentralised energy systems in a domestic, widespread context. Challenging the perception of ‘infinite supply,’ through a holistic, slow, and resourceful off-grid lifestyle, each household establishes a deeper understanding of their own energy consumption, as they become responsible for their own energy, resources, and waste. Rather than a nostalgic ‘back to the land’ approach or sentiment, The Pylon Network encourages a practical and viable return to self-sufficiency and conscious living as a necessity to post-urban survival.
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