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Sue Barr
The Architecture of Transit

Juxtapositions and Proximities in Motorway Architecture[s] Between the Alps and Naples.

The Architecture of Transit is a PhD research project based within the Architecture department of the Royal College of Art in London.
Through the use of a large format digital camera to produce topographical photographs, this project researches the complexities and juxtapositions present within the landscapes of motorway [autostrada] architecture; removing motorway architecture from its narrow engineering discourse, instead positioning motorways as cultural monuments within landscape.
The project also addresses the problem of how to photograph an architecture that is impossible to experience in its entirety, their sheer scale negating the possibility of capturing the architecture in one photograph. Analogous to Superstudio’s iconic Continuous Monument project – their white gridded structure traversing the surface of the world; these monumental motorway megastructures are architectures that run for hundreds of miles and cross international boundaries: uncontainable within the eye or the viewfinder.
When we look at a view, a piece of architecture or a landscape, our eyes focal length constantly shifts, simultaneously we are aware of detail and context, but the camera needs a fixed viewpoint: the camera necessitates one to frame the photograph, to trap and isolate image, to make a decision as to where the edges of the image will fall, but what if the monumentality of the architecture extends beyond the frame of the photograph and the viewers field of sight, how is it possible to photograph such a structure?
The project identifies a series of sublime narrative highlights within these architectures, where juxtapositions, proximities and topographies all combine to result in moments of the sublime, revealing these architectures not as an objects, but as narratives in the landscape.


Barr’s Bio