Road aesthetics

Increasing attention has been paid to the aesthetics of roads, railways and other traffic routes during the past decades.  New traffic routes are big projects that change and break up areas.  On the other hand they form important connections between different areas.

Road aesthetics can be used to improve the safety of and navigation on traffic routes.  Sight is the most important sense used for observing the road and its surroundings.   This makes it important that road users know which town they are passing and what services are available there.

Main roads no longer go through the centres of towns, so information about the atmosphere of the town and what services are available there is not relayed directly to the road user.  Road aesthetics and art can be used to inform road users in a subtle and original way what kind of town they are passing.

Art lifts the profile of railway stations, airports and bicycle paths, and can make finding your way around these places clearer and easier.

(FI) Tampereen Raitiotie

Sorry, this entry is only available in Finnish.


ArtistTuula Lehtinen with Hanna Aitoaho ja Jukka-Pekka Kataja (A-Insinöörit) / construction engineering and Annukka Larssen / lighting design
ClientCity of Tampere and Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

Art work Falls is located above the entrance of the Tampere Rantatunneli in front of a rock cutting. It is composed of the seven steel pillars with glass fronts picturing the Tammerkoski rapids. The pillars are seven meters high and whole constitutes one of the country’s largest public sculptures.

Noise Art Gallery

ArtistsSauli Iso-Lähteenmäki, Ilkka Väätti, Kaisa Soini, Teija-Tuulia Ahola, Mikko Kallio, Soile Jääskeläinen
ClientCity of Tampere and Pirkanmaa ELY-keskus

the Noise Art Gallery brings to the Tampere Rantatunneli tunnel environment about 400 meters of concrete noise barriers with integrated art. The Noise Art Gallery art complex has been designed by a group of artists coordinated by Frei Zimmer.
The implementation was carried out in Parma factory in Kangasala during casting of the concrete elements with retarder and relief and after casting with concrete paint.

E18 motorway

ArtistsTuula Lehtinen & Pertti Kukkonen
ClientSoutheast Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

Frei Zimmer has implemented road aesthetics on the E18 motorway between Koskenkylä and Vaalimaa in co-operation with consultants from Ramboll and Sito. Designing and construction of the motorway has been divided into two stages: Koskenkylä-Kotka and Hamina-Vaalimaa.

The implementation of the road aesthetics is based on a plan that was drawn up back in 2009. Programmes for both stages have been drawn up.

Koskenkylä-Kotka was completed in 2014 and Hamina-Vaalimaa in 2018.

E18 Koskenkylä-Vaalimaa road aesthetics plan (pdf)

Highway tunnel General Art Plan, Tampere

ClientCity of Tampere / Pirkanmaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

The Tampere Rantatunneli tunnel is approximately 2.3 kilometers long. It runs past the city centre and under the Tammerkoski rapids. Construction project includes two major interchanges. Construction work started 2013 and the tunnel will be completed in 2017.
The art plan defines places for art in the tunnel and on it’s surroundings. The goal is to make better cityscape and improve driving experience.
The Art Plan recommends art for noise protection walls, in to the tunnel itself and ventilation pipes. Ventilation pipe’s art is chosen in competition organized by Tampere Art Museum.

The Art Plan (in Finnish)

Noice barrier no 1

ArtistTuula Lehtinen
ClientMuncipality of Pyhtää / Southeast Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

The glass noise barrier at Pyhtää in Southern Finland brings the area’s nature to the E18 motorway. The reeds printed on the barrier with ceramic pigments are a symbol of the nearby sea. Blue, the brand colour of the road, is another element of the piece.

Guardian Angel

ArtistsPaavo Räbinä, Jaakko Reiman & work group
ClientCity of Tampere

2008, the City of Tampere held a design competition for noise barriers in the new Vuores region. The competition was managed by Frei Zimmer.

The competition for Särkijärvi Bridge was won by the artist Paavo Räbinä and designer Jarkko Reiman for their proposal entitled Guardian Angel. Later it was decided to implement the piece on the Central Park Bridge in Vuores.

The designers of Guardian Angel have used a bold approach to find a new solution, in which modern lighting technology has an important role. During daylight hours, Guardian Angel gives space to the landscape, showing the graphic surface pattern. When it is dark, it is transformed into a light installation that changes according to the movement of passers-by.

The concept of Guardian Angel is based on the interaction between an artwork and people. The piece makes the bridge more approachable, giving more space for people. At night and during dark winter months, the play of light creates a sense of safety in the space. You can watch a video of the opening of the artwork on the Vuores project website.