Brutal inspiration: why poets are writing about Coventry’s ring road

The ring road is a monument to postwar planning
The ring road is a monument to postwar planning / © Jack Norris & Cathy Galvin

The urban landscape has long set literary imaginations on fire – but a ring road may not spring to mind as an obvious source of poetic inspiration. In Coventry, however, the overt orbicular oddness of the ring road and its nine junctions, each elbowing the city, has been celebrated in a collaborative homage to concrete and tarmac by nine poets and nine film-makers.

“The ring road reminds me of a huge creature,” mulls Leanne Bridgewater, one of the poets involved in the Disappear Here project, dreamt up by local artist Adam Steiner. “The ring road has a great presence, not dissimilar to the old city walls,” reflects Steiner, “but driving on it reminds me of Scalextric!” The roller-coaster qualities of driving the road are legendary – you can complete the circuit in five minutes.

The story of postwar planning in the UK is often one of false starts and half finishes. Coventry is one of the few places actually followed through, with its new city centre and ring road completed in 1974. Seen from above, the city is as pleasingly circular as a dart board. But you’d have to be a sober shot to hit the bullseye – as its equally circular ring road is tightly drawn around the city centre, creating a remarkable urban landscape.

Within that tight circle lies one of the most architecturally fascinating city centres in Britain, where medieval streets meet the modern world. The mild modernism of Coventry’s immediate postwar rebuild has much in common with cities that suffered similar fiery fates, such as Essen and Rotterdam. […]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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