Breaking Boundaries - The Ashford Ring Road
The Ashford ring road project – “Breaking Boundaries” – has seen a number of artists working as part of design teams over the last two years, in an ambitious scheme to transform a 1970s ring road into a series of pedestrian-friendly two-way streets. The scheme follows the innovative philosophy of Shared Space, an approach to public space design which gives equal balance to pedestrians and motor vehicles on roads and highways.
The project, which encircles the growth town of Ashford in Kent, is still in progress, with a first phase under construction and funding being sought for a second phase. The artists appointed during the first phase were John Atkin, John Maine, Nayan Kulkarni and Simeon Nelson. John Maine’s work will be progressed during a second phase.
Atkin, Maine and Nelson have been particularly concerned with the landscape and environment of the road, with Kulkarni appointed to develop a lighting strategy and associated detailed designs. Artist Michael Pinsky was also commissioned on the project, to curate a linked programme of temporary works in summer 2007, which marked the initial dismantling of the ring road and coincided with the Tour de France passing through Ashford.
The design team on the project includes Jacobs as highways engineers and Whitelaw Turkington as landscape architects. The client for the scheme is Kent County Council, working closely with Ashford’s Future, a public-private sector regeneration partnership which includes Ashford Borough Council. RKL Consultants have provided arts consultancy/project management.