Samples Architecture Highways and Cities

Highways and Cities

879 words 3 page(s)

The article promotes the space of Westway as a socially, culturally and economically advantageous city, as well as a technologically innovative destination. The author presents Britain as a technologically advanced modernist society in the mid-twentieth century based on the prevailing reports from the press at the time. The Westway was the longest elevated highway in Europe. According to the journal, the elevated highway was promoted in the media, for instance, captions of the project and texts were printed in journal articles, press releases and newspapers. The article also fetes the construction methods employed in the construction of the Westway as that which was technologically innovative. The London-based Westway is broadcasted as leading in technologically innovative computerized traffic control, “Britain leads the world in traffic control,” (Robertson 78).

The author projects London as leading in the technological innovation among the European Cities. The Westway is projected as an innovative technical solution to the structural based problems in London using computerized programmes. The article also positions the project as one that was imaginative and bold, thus representing the modernist tropes. The invitation of the Inspector-General of Belgium Highways, Monsieur A Saccasyn, to commission the project is viewed a significant gesture that aimed positioning Britain in the limelight of leading in technological innovation and progressive projects. By virtue, that Monsieur A Saccasyn was Belgian, a former colonial power of Britain, elevated the Westway project’s status. The article promotes the Westway project wielding cultural, social and economic advantages at the local and national levels. Based on this notion, the project was viewed to be cost-efficient, cost-effective, fast, exhilarating, and progressive.

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The author also indicates that the project was completed within the stipulated time frame. This was imperative in offering technical solutions to the time-consuming and hazardous journeys in London. This was evident when the article indicate that the time taken to travel from Shepherds Bush to Marylebone would be drastically be reduced from the nerve shattering 40 minutes to between 4-5 minutes, “…and the Westway was dubbed the 3 minute motorway,” (Robertson 78).

The Westway was contrasted to the imperial city projects like the Tower Bridge, which was constructed in 1894. The Westway is positioned as an emblematic structure right from its inception, as harboring great sculptural technological prowess more successful than the Tower Bridge. The Westway connected motorways that traversed the country through improved radical routes. This structure corresponded to the 1944 Greater London Plan put forward by the Abercrombie as indicated by journalist Gordon Wilkins of the London Illustrated News (Robertson 79). Wilkin compares the London Westway project to other European neighbors’ projects with the motive to promoting the project as an imperialist symbol of London’s technological innovation prowess. The journalist mentions mega public space Parisian projects. The promotion of Britain as an innovation hub that matches other European nations was aimed at creating a sense of pride in Britain to elevate its bargaining powers in the EEC, which the French claimed veto-control over.

It is vital to indicate at this time that the commissioning of the Westway project met considerable opposition marked by protests in the July of 1970. The public had the knowledge of the environmental impacts that were brought about by the urban projects. The creation of platforms where the public could voice their concerns through the unofficial and official ways created the grounds for the protests. Communities are known to stick to their traditional cultures, and they view modernity as a threat to their spirituality. The creation of diverse communities led to the positioning of the Westway project as a rational design that resulted in social isolation, loss of control of public space and the segregation of communities (Robertson 89).

The article also positions the Westway project as an autonomous machine that employed various “assemblages of actants, both non-human and human,” (Roberson 83). The architectural space of the Westway project was understood as one that is constructed and materialized. The article also positions it as an embodiment of machines and humans in the activation and production of the space. The design for the Westway had impressive values in the strong shadows and the bright sunshine casted that laid emphasis on the quality of the sculptural design used in the construction. The three-dimensional view of the Westway on landscape had an interesting view as shown in the article that it harbored “greatest architectural potential” (Robertson 89).

The article exemplifies how modern architecture was linked to the link that the modern architecture had with the populace. The failure of the populace to un-code the architectural structures so that they could understand them resulted in conflicts. It is compelling to note that the system of coding that was used by the architects was in conflict with the coding system of the populace. Majority of societies tend to stick to their cultures even in the face of modernity. The traditional societies express this through their visual traditions. The traditional communities feel loss of their spirituality in the face of modernity. The traditional societies are normally hostile towards modern architecture and modern cities because they view such developments to be sterile. Traditional communities actually understood the Westway project, however, they were hostile towards such development because they believed it was urban reservation and was meant to contain and segregate them from the city’s resources and the rest of the city.

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