Padraig Connolly

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  1. 1. How do we root an infrastructure detached from place?PADRAIG CONNOLLY 10103082
  2. 2. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS To all my lecturers at SAUL foryour support and guidance throughout theyears, in particular the 4th and 5th year teams. Special thanks also to Fran and Noel for all their assistance. To Jenny and Rafal, for your help to get me over the end line, I am so grateful. To Mam, Dad and Hugh, for everything over the last few years.Thanks for all your assistance in model making, proof reading and drawing. Without your help this would have been impossible and I am truly grateful for that. To my class, who have made the years in SAUL such an enjoyable experience, from first to fifth year, it has been an enjoyable time because of you all. I hope it continues long after this.
  4. 4. Part 1 Tim Engolds diagram of the hub-spoke model of place compared to the knot of entangled lifelines on the right. The left showing the planning of place, as a circulating out structure versus the right, the series of movement representing everyday life.
  5. 5. The evolving nature of our landscape has seen many changes in recent times, both above and below its original formed ground. We have created large-scale connections between our urban cores and have developed infrastructures within, to move our cities people. However, this need for ultimate connectivity has led to disconnection with former places along routes. This disconnect has made these places almost non- places, struggling in trying to find their identity in more than a subway sign or motorway exit. The thesis looks to explore the possibility of changing what one understands as inhabitable space, by looking actively at the junctions presented by the motorway as important points of transition both physically and socially. This will hopefully look to remove the isolated state of the infrastructure and move to developing a stronger relationship to place and infrastructure. The thesis will also look to how architecture considers mobility in its make up, looking at how architecture can engage with movement and program together rather than fragmenting them. It looks to re-imagine how this functional infrastructure could work as a new generator of social interactions, removing its isolated state and enabling a dialogue with the places it connects. The thesis will also speculate on the future use of the structures being introduced, considering the changing and evolving state of the motorway. Introduction
  6. 6. The Road. One can consider the road a piece of infrastructure, a tool to get you from one place to another with little obstacles. The reality though, is the road has also become a social condition in its own right. The road has always had a social element. Going to and from places by foot would have always led to chance encounters. Which came first, the house or the road leading to the house?1 This question has led to much debate, however, its answer depends on individual opinion; a house represents a shelter and physical ownership, while the road represents a journey? The road has evolved over time but has always kept a sense of its origins, summed up when one considers the road as a metaphor; Life is a road, long and unpredictable, and full of danger, that each of us must travel. The road has always brought with it a sense of freedom, never confined by a boundary or owned by some one. The road was an enabler to many to be free of a place. The road, physically, socially and metaphorically has been pivotal in how 1 Jackson J.B, A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time (Bing- hamton, New York, The Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group, 1994) 189 places develop, but equally pivotal in giving freedom to explore. The current day road has shown its most significant evolution when one considers the motorway. The road has shifted in its social capacity, as speed and time have omitted this need. The relationship, both socially and physically, once capable on the road are no longer possible with the increase in speed and volume of traffic using this infrastructure. It is an abstracted tool in its own right, trying to establish itself as an infrastructural devise, rather than any social generator or condition. If it has lost this important social capacity, have we isolated human contact to a salute from behind a steering wheel? INFRASTRUCTURE AND MOBILITY Motorway Network of Ireland
  7. 7. Isolated Existence. Currently the motorway has positioned itself in an isolated position in the landscape, with a large spacing between the former node and the physical infrastructure. This space in-between has led to an abstraction of the motorway, which has detached the infrastructure from the nodes it is supposed to serve. By that, the placement has led to a large in between space developing between the motorway and former nodal point, where linear opportunism is at play on the newly placed access roads. The motorway was first realized in Italy in 1925, between Milan and Varese. Coined by Edward M. Bassett, who denoted the freeway as a piece of public land designated for movement, the motorway would become a part of modern day society internationally. In its planning the motorway is considered nationally, in Irelands case to connect smaller urban cores to Dublin. By that the over arching goal is to connect urban cores as efficiently as possible. However, this placement has lead to a shift in the geography of the former node points along a route. Former nodes operate as the centre of social infrastructure in these areas, however, the large in-between space developing between the motorway and node has led to a decline in the existing towns and villages. The motorway is the new road. It offers potential in speed and efficiency that enables daily life to function better. The question now, though, is how we understand this change from road to motorway. No longer are buildings together in a linear situation stitched together, rather individual buildings with vast distances between exist, that in there own way have become destinations. So how does the motorway engage socially as the road did in the past? JB Jackson in his essay Roads belong to the landscape asks the important question for todays roads; Which do we value more, a senseofplaceorasenseoffreedom?2 The motorway brings with it a new condition, however, the necessity of the road as a social enabler has come to change. Advances in technology and social media consume far more of our social life than physical interaction do today, so should the 2 Jackson J.B, A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time (Bing- hamton, New York, The Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group, 1994) 190 Nodal isolation between existing village and motorway, Birdhill, Tipperary
  8. 8. road go back to being a source of freedom and in fact isolated for the over connected world. One could consider the motorway the last isolated existence one can achieve. The advances in technology by Google and others in relation to driver-less cars adds another changing quality to these roads, as they start to act as driver-less motion machines, so how should we understand the motorway moving forward? This mobility infrastructure creates a different way of viewing the landscape, and anewspatialexperience,sotheimportance in its evolution only seems right. How do we approach a fragmented infrastructure in the landscape? If landscape is defined as culturally configured nature, then infrastructure may be considered the single most important factor generating it 3 . If we fail to understand the importance this infrastructure has in the landscape, it further becomes isolated and detached from its surroundings. How do we root this infrastructure? How do we enable a social interaction yet re-asserting the road as a place of freedom? 3 Hvattum Mari and Janikie Kampevold Larsen, Routes, Roads and Landscapes (Surrey, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2011) 2 Current relationship between the motorway(orange) and existing nodes
  9. 9. The nature of place as we know it is constantly changing. The reality of what we understand to be our place has been removed by the increase in the technology and the evolution of the worldwide economy, meaning large-scale international movement for both work and leisure. However, it is in this context we find ourselves still wanting a route, a place, a home. The need to connect one self to a place will always be inherent to us, even in todays small world. As our urban centres continue to grow at large rates, we must ask how do we want the socio geographic to develop? The mass movement to large cores comes with inflation, sprawl and a certain degree of panic as one tries to edge their way into an already dense fabric. The value of place seems somewhat lost in the sensation to be part of a certain urban condition. Marc Auge in Non-places introduces one to the idea of place and non-place; If a place can be defined as relational, historical and concerned with identity, then a space which cannot be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity will be a non-place. Non-places according to Auge are concerned with the modern world1 - The idea of being born in a clinic and dying in a hospital. They have developed throughout our society. In particular he considers the motorway a non-place. He talks about the language we are presented with on the motorway, and other non-places such as the supermarket and the airport. We are governed by words and names rather than places, signs and signals that only suggest exits and lane allocation. The hint of what might be beyond the current route is sometimes mentioned in a sign, but in a sense, this further removes the need to disengage from the specific journey. It gives enough o