The Architecture of Transit. Sue Barr, photographer

The Architecture of Transit. Sue Barr, photographer
Italy and Switzerland.
metalocus, SARA REBOLLO
Isola del Cantone, Italy. Photography © courtesy of Sue Barr.
The Architecture of Transit is Sue Barr's PhD research project at the Royal College of Art. Sue Barr, photographer and tutor at the Architectural Association, travels along motorways between the Alps and Naples in order to research the instances of beauty and sublimity that these infrastructures or megastructures produce as they traverse natural and urban areas.

The Architecture of Transit is a PhD project using large format digital photography to produce topographical photographs to research instances of beauty and sublimity in the landscapes of motorway architecture between the Alps and Naples.

Mainly ignored within architectural discourse, motorways are megastructures in the landscape. Although for hundreds of miles this architecture lays upon the landscape without incident, the geographical area between the Alps and Naples contains a variety of complex topographies and urban conditions, sites rich in moments where the motorway architecture transcends function to become poetic.

This area also corresponds to the routes taken by the 17th and 18th century tourists undertaking the Grand Tour in search of a real life experience of the Sublime and Arcadian landscapes as depicted by painters such as Claude, Turner and de Loutherbourg; most frequently ending their travels in Naples, which was for them the end of the civilized world.

These same landscapes that we now speed across on motorways, elevated at high level on concrete pilotti or through the successive tunnels punctuating the Genovese topography, took days to traverse for the grand tourists and during the Romantic period confronting the sublimity of untamed nature whilst crossing the Alps became a highlight to be experienced rather than a perilous hardship to more