A book on the history of landscape towers

Fingrid, the electricity transmission system operator in Finland, is celebrating its 80th anniversary by publishing the book “Form and colour in the landscape – History of the Finnish landscape tower”. The book containing an abundance of photographs and other pictures describes the 20-year history of landscape towers and gives technical information on the towers. Interior designers have been designing the landscape towers from the very beginning.Transmission lines in Finland are typically suspended by wooden guyed portal towers, which, being light structures, are well adapted to the Finnish field and forest landscape. Transmission line towers planned by interior designers were first designed in the early 1990s by Professor Antti Nurmesniemi’s studio at the assignment of IVO Voimansiirto Oy (IVS), the transmission system operator in Finland in those days. At that time, transmission line towers with a special design probably only existed in Florida, USA, with the tower with Mickey Mouse ears at Disney World. Finland can be regarded a pioneer in landscape towers. Nowhere else in the world are there as many unique landscape towers designed specifically for a certain location. In the early stages, the aesthetic goals of design comprised simplified shapes and structures of towers, which are in harmony with the landscape of the intended location. Designers also gave the grey towers more colours. The enthusiastic reception enjoyed by the towers has also taken the persons making them by surprise. The towers have become large landmarks in their environment, and yet they also constitute a vital part of the electricity transmission system. The first landscape towers erected in Finland on the island of Hirvensalo in Turku were part of the environmental project “Turku, a European sculpture town” of the Pro Cultura Foundation. The tower type referred to as “Keltanokat” (Yellow beaks) used there enables a narrow right-of-way in a scenically delicate area. Even though the Yellow beaks never suspended Fingrid’s lines but those of Turku Energia, the shape of the bird beak was used in Fingrid’s emblem introduced in 1997. The first actual landscape tower in the nation-wide grid was completed in Laukaa in Central Finland in 1995 soon after the Yellow beaks. The same year, “Sinikurjet” (Blue cranes) were erected at a multi-level junction at the crossing of Turuntie Road and Ring Road III in Espoo. The towers were named a work of environmental art even before they were erected. At present, there are 12 places in Finland with special-design landscape towers owned by Fingrid. Some of the towers are also illuminated. Landscape towers are placed in selected locations where the transmission line structures cross scenically delicate areas or busy roads, such as at Lempäälä across Highway 3. Landscape towers cost about 5 to 6 times more than ordinary towers used in transmission lines. “The construction of landscape towers has required courage to be creative. We intend to serve as an example also in the future, especially in more everyday projects, by constantly developing the standard transmission line towers, too. We can combine technology and art in the design,” said Fingrid’s President Jukka Ruusunen in the launching of the book. The book “Form and colour in the landscape – History of the Finnish landscape tower” has been written by Maarit Kauniskangas, and Helena Hökkä has been responsible for the layout and pictures of the book. Further information: Sami Kuitunen, Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, tel. +358 (0)30 395 5220