Regardless of how you feel about nuclear power, the architecture of the familiar hypberboloid cooling tower associated with nuclear power plants is instantly recognizable and undeniably fascinating. These towers stand like silent sentinels, guarding their power stations or simply creating a small spot of interest on the landscape. Many nuclear power stations which have been demolished have left behind their cooling towers, often because it is expensive and complicated to destroy them in a safe manner.
(image via: Wikipedia)
At least one nuclear power plant is taking strides to warm the public to its presence. The Cruas Nuclear Power Station in France commissioned artist Jean-Marie Pierret to create a giant mural on a cooling tower; the mural was finished in 2005 and focuses on the interplay of water and air.
(image via: Gregor Rohrig)
Maybe the most well-known decorated cooling towers in the world are those at the decommissioned Orlando Power Station in Soweto, South Africa. After supplying coal-powered electricity to the area for more than half a century, the plant was shut down in 1998. The cooling towers remain, though – one now sports a huge advertisement, and the other is home to the largest mural painting in South Africa. In addition to being one of the most recognizable landmarks in the area, the site is home to bungee and BASE jumping, a power swing, and various other thrill-seeking attractions.