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The Westway Project

Part 2 Project 1998
Timothy Burgess
University of Westminster, UK
The intent of the project is to explore the Westway as a site of potential beauty and surprise. The project consists of 'constructed' vistas orchestrated around the assumed viewpoint one would have from a vehicle moving at speed along the carriageway underneath the Westway. The vistas are reconstructed romantic paintings interspersed with elements of the existing city. The images chosen were 'idealised' vignettes of Arcadian beauty and their introduction into the urban fabric is subtle inversion of contemporary issues of urban development on Greenfield sites.

The final developed project was centred on the vista across the Paddington Basin. The elements which constitute the vista are a new structure for an existing car pound and the creation of two new parks.

The 'City of Westminster Car pound' currently occupying the Paddington Basin is to be relocated partially under the Westway. The roof structures are to be partially flooded with strategic planting to create a series of 'foregrounds' which will be seen sequentially when driving along the road above.

The new playing spaces/ parks on the opposite side of the Paddington Basin constitute the 'background' of the vista.
The aspect of the project is the formulation of a development plan to protect the newly constructed vistas.

Timothy Burgess

Roadworks: the studio program

....metal on rubber on asphalt, your favourite stretch of road, architecture vanishing in the rear-view mirror

....location, more than one, reciprocal, related by time,
to be found in gaps connected by the journey

.....method is by collecting, search for a tribe to form the program, the Internet, the measured drawing from screen to paper, a model car, road drawings.

....aim, the road, that space we cannot avoid yet never really see .No walking allowed. For futurist read roadist.. Sant Elia with a mobile phone, Piranesi with a Walkman. Your definitive road collection.

All these pieces, fragments, some factual, some lyrical, some technical, whatever we don't know yet will form the raw material for a roadist project...perhaps the world’s last, not exactly a graveyard more like a sigh for what is being erased by other technological events.

Tim Burgess’s project locates itself on the Westway at a point where it rises above the city as it rushes out to the suburbs. The work concentrates on two issues, firstly how might one use the idea employed in planning strategy - that of the ‘protected vista ‘ - to construct new vistas. Secondly, since the viewpoint from the vehicle is moving any such vista is fragmentary, more like a frame from a film, more like an after image on the retina destined to fade but remain in the memory and here to become a blur in the rear-view mirror. The controlled or ‘designed’ vista has clear classical and picturesque antecedents, in the investigation of this erratic and fleeting vista Tim Burgess exhaustively and precisely delineates the geometry of each frame in the horizontal and vertical plane with reference to speed and the existing urban terrain. As a result a system of rules are established to preserve and protect the vista of a picturesque scene that evokes the myths of the rural idyll that is the road’s conceptual destination in this way the current fetish for conservation is redirected to conserve the myths.

• Page Hits: 2128         • Entry Date: 08 January 1998         • Last Update: 10 May 2001