Comma

A commission for a large scale permanent lightwork to be sited at a majortraffic intersection on the outskirts of Cork, Ireland. A project in collaboration with architect Tom de Paor, commissioned by Cork City Council. After completing the initial design stage the scheme was discontinued and the project never realised.

"We wish to work with the roundabout and overpass.
The form of the work is generated out of the form and function of the roundabout which will act as the template for the production of a series of repeated units to occupy the space between the carriageways of the overpass.
This repeated unit is a product of the circumference of the roundabout.
The diameter of the idealised circle of the roundabout is 100m. The circumference therefore is 314.15m.
This idealised circle is divided into twelve sections or 30 segments. The resultant subtle unit of curvature, measuring 26.179m in length, is then formed twelve times using 12mm thick by 26.179m by 1.2m rolled and torqued steel plate.
These twelve panels are combined to form six units - made of two panels faced by one another and joined via 100mm spacers. The interior space of these units is flooded with brilliant light.
The six units are laid along the central reservation. Alternately laying convex face up, then down, and so on.
Finally, the surface of the roundabout is planted to describe and fill the outline of the (now transplanted) perfect 100m diameter circle.
The central notion of the work is that the experience of driving across the overpass is re-characterised as a linear movement along the circumference of the circular form of the roundabout - driving as it were, around the roundabout in a straight line (or vice versa).
Visually the undulating curves of the units will play upon the level tranjectory of the drivers’ and passengers’ eyeline to suggest a slow and rhythmic rising a falling. The passage across the overpass will be defined not in terms of the movement across a boundary or threshold but through a visible ‘field’ - a visual rumble strip, where the constant speed of the vehicle articulates the fluctuating motion of the ascending and descending lines of light.
At a distance the units will be seen as bright curved lines against the straight lines of the overpass and the flickering points of the car lights. Formally it is hoped that they will echo the curved landscape surrounding the site.
As one drives around the roundabout the ‘shadow’ of the circle is apparent on the surface in the contrasting vegetation.
The units comprise of two layers, open on all four edges and set at 100mm apart. The spacers or braces are rods rather than solid fins so as to minimize the obstruction to light spillage.
Lamps are set in the surface of the central reservation, their beams are vertical and are let into the lower face of each unit via a circular opening. Directly above, in the upper face a flush fitting access panel is created to allow for maintenance.
We aim to place the units directly onto the central reservation at its level without any plinth. The curvature of the units raises their open ends and/or sides to a height of approx. 175cm (well above the crash barrier). The width of the central reservation, between the two crash barriers, is approx. 6m. The units sit along a centre line and behind the barrier by 1.8m on either side.
The anchoring of the units is invisible to the viewer. The units appearing to have simply been lifted from the roundabout and laid down on the overpass".
text from project poposal. © de Paor/Ellard/Johnstone, 2001.

 

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Screen shots from scematic 3D animation presenting inital concept.