Branching out over the rail lines supporting the strands of vibrant energy, the Folded Sheet Mast Structures bring mechanised life over the rail network. The overriding design principle has been to create an aesthetic which complements the very ethos of HS2, that of ushering in a new age for British transport with a state of the art approach. The medium through which the message is conveyed is by the use of carbon fibre composites, a material which best encapsulates the very essence of our technological achievements.
In aspiring to attain a minimalistic optical imprint, which however boldly defines the visual presence of the HS2 rail network, we have looked to nature for inspiration. The leaf is the element from our natural environment which is functional yet delicate, graceful yet distinctive. The masts therefore emulate open Aloe leaves as they robustly reach out to obtain the required nutrients in harsh environments.
“Coupled with a suitable ultra-strong material, which lends itself well to being moulded and formed from sheets, the design combines the advantages of modern day composites with a form-finding approach, which achieves structural rigidity by virtue of its very shape.”
The carbon fibre catenary mast stems then from the foundation socket and starts off as an open circular section at the base, gradually unfurling in a gentle arc to support the catenary wires at a V shaped suspension point. A further sheet wraps itself around the main mast to provide the negative feeder connection point. For the larger spans the portal structure is created by laying a sheet of skillfully folded composite material from one mast to the other, pinching the middle of the sheet to ensure structural rigidity.
A kit of parts which offers a practical and simple approach with a minimum amount of components, results in a sleek and distinctive contemporary aesthetic that captures the spirit of HS2.
Client: Enabling Innovation Team, HS2 Ltd, Department for Transport
Use: Overhead Line Structures
Status: International design competition – 3rd Round
Architect: LUCA POIAN FORMS
Structural Engineer: Soluxn Ltd