Texts by David Heathcote & Davide Papotti
Design: Daly & Lyon, London
Motorways are architectural megastructures in the landscape, crossing nations, natural or political borders making previously remote places accessible to development, tourism and trade. Between the Alps and Naples motorways connect highly complex topographies and urban conditions, often retracing antique trade paths and routes taken by northern Romantics on the Grand Tour, searching for arcadian and sublime landscapes as painted by de Loutherbourg, Claude and Turner.
The experience of the sublime in untamed nature became a highlight on the Grand Tour. Landscapes that once took days to cross, today we speed through via motorways over concrete bridges, ramps, through galleries and tunnels. But with this speed comes a new accelerated and simultaneously calm sublime of concrete motorway megastructures.
Sue Barr (Head of Photography, Architectural Association, London) is a photographer obsessed by concrete and Brutalist architecture. Following historical 18th-century routes from the Swiss Alps to Naples, she used a large format camera to photograph these extraordinary and ignored architectural megastructures. The pictures in her first monographic publication, document the ominous beauty of motorway architecture, within landscapes and urban spaces through carefully constructed photographs.