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Highway art - art in the road environment
highway A15 earthen noise barrier near Tiel
In 1983 the National Highway Administration of the Netherlands invited three artists to develop ideas about integrating art in the road environment. Highway A15 runs from west to east across the Netherlands - from the North Sea to almost the German border. In that time it was a fairly quiet route and the department found that especially the eastern stretch lacked interest and caused mental weariness. Maybe the visual impact of art would give it more character and keep the drivers alert. Where there are now concrete walls with graffiti - in 1983 I proposed a meandering mound which would serve as a future noise barrier, while it was actually a grand earthwork - four kilometers long. My idea was - and still is - that a noise barrier not necessarily has to visually exhibit its factual function; it can be a purely visual statement - having the extra advantage to stop and deflect sound.