M4 INCORPORATION 2008-2009

A participatory critical review: GOODBYE HIERARCHY, HELLO IDENTITY
Commissioned by SAFLE on behalf of The Welsh government and OveAarup

This critical review of the design of the New M4 motorway south of Newport, Wales (GB) is done in a participatory way. It is an INVITATION to integrative thinking. Central issues discussed are the legibility/readability of the landscape as is, leading to the conclusion that READABILITY needs VIEW. The next step involves looking into the changing culture in the motorway zone, and to attempt to forecast and examine the impact on the future landscape that the motorway will make on the landscape.

The complementary step of having a VIEW from the road is how about the VIEW at the road. Going through these steps it became clear that in this sensitive area of the Levels it is of great importance to work towards an integrative design: a road that shows it knows it is part of a landscape of a different scale.
An integrative design process with a common vision based on VIEW and Cultural History will make it necessary to take an extra step for some structures and locations. The structural works like bridge, overpasses and railway line crossings need to be designed up until the level at which construction becomes sober and pure architecture. The add-ons like sound barriers, wind baffles, fences, communication boxes and sign gantries deserve the same level of attention as the over-all projects needs. The series of twelve WTAs (Water treatment Areas) offer an excellent opportunity to show the projects sensitivity to the fragile water management system of the Levels, and to the archaeological evidence in the area. The eastern connection between existing M4 and the relief road will involve a giant cut through the hills, when done properly it can become a positive dramatic experience. For these extra efforts it would be best to work with people with experience of creative industrial design and landscape art with clear briefs on how to contribute to the final design.

Download het volledige Engelstalige rapport.