M4 Motorway

M4 Motorway


Glass fibre reinforced concrete

Approximately 3000 meters long

M4 Motorway sound attenuation barrier artwork, Sydney, Australia, In Association with Hassell Architects.

The idea for this piece grew out of notions of fluidity v rigidity that I had been working with in the studio over the last few years. I wanted to make a form that flowed for the entire length of the motorway, spilling over each edge of the wall, independent of the functional aspects, only coincidentally colliding with the noise wall itself. I want them to have an iconic presence on the skyline, like a Mobil sign from 20 years ago, the one with the red Pegasus in sheet steel over a 100mm thick frame, a solid extruded form.
I designed a modular system of six interchangeable panels which could be combined with each other like dominoes or DNA bases to form long strings of random, differentiated pattern. This prevents an obviously repetitious pattern.
The patterns were initially derived from a jagged line which could be the all ordinaries index over a given period of time, a mountain range or the course of a meandering river. I then refined and confined the 'jags' to curves and horizontal lines of specific radii and positions on each of the six panels which were divided into 9 equal horizontal datum lines to facilitate the continuity of the pattern between each panel. The end result is like liquid blobs of mercury travelling at speed down each side of the freeway.
© 2006 Simeon Nelson. All rights reserved

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