research

N340 Zwolle-Ommen

2008
Commissioned by Provincie Overijssel
Supervised by Het Instituut Amsterdam (artistic research platform), Michael van Gessel (landscape architect), Hans van Manen (choreographer), Katie Tedder (landscape architect)

Artistic research + alternative redesign for highroad N340 Zwolle – Ommen

 

The redesign of the highroad N340 between Zwolle and Ommen had been discussed for two decades before the start of this collaborative project. Spatial planners faced the interests of safety and efficacy opposed to a desire for showing and experiencing this specific landscape. The road was known for many accidents that were supposed to be caused by the boring design straight from A to B. A interdisciplinary team was created to perform in situ research and create alternative designs.

My research consisted of personal explorations of the landscape around highroad N340 Zwolle-Ommen by walking intuitively into the rural and natural sites surrounding this road. I documented these walks by photography and video.

While exploring, I noticed the arrangement of this landscape in particular zones, seperated by rows of trees or by water.  I developped an interpretation of this landscape as a house in which many rooms were still to be discovered. Based on this interpretation I redesigned the track of the road, that would not be straight from A to B but would lead to a selected and sequenced collection of sites, which I called ‘rooms’ in this landscape, a.o. this power plant near Zwolle.

Of course, this alternative design was extremely expensive, absoloutely unsafe and never to be realized. It did however challenged the traditional notions of driving and traveling and of local spatial identity and the project lead to a new awareness of drawing a highroad through a landscape as a political act and historical event.