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The Limehouse Link

7 November 2011

Iain Borden

article in the The Journal of Architecture, v.16 n.5 (October 2011), pp. 589-613.


Article by Iain Borden. In the Docklands area of London lies the 'Limehouse Link', a dual-bore road tunnel used by around 80,000 cars each day. A monumental and highly expensive piece of construction, the Limehouse Link has nonetheless received almost no attention from architectural historians or others concerned with the history of construction, engineering or urban development.

This referreed article by Iain Borden provides an introduction to the Limehouse Link, explaining some of the fundamental characteristics of its construction and position in London's urban landscape. More importantly, the article then considers how one might understand an everyday yet monumental construction such as this: a tunnel without obvious aesthetic form, design intent or symbolic meaning, but which nonetheless has an undeniable presence in the city. The Limehouse Link is therefore interpreted in terms of the car driver's immersive experience of the tunnel, more active constructions of this experience through sensory qualities of sound, representations of the tunnel in different media and art, ways of knowing the history of Limehouse, and, in particular, as a kind of aesthetic experience. The article concludes that driving through the Limehouse Link is to engage in a different way of knowing the postmodern city.

Published as Iain Borden, 'The Limehouse Link: the Architectural and Cultural History of a Monumental Road Tunnel in London's Docklands', The Journal of Architecture, v.16 n.5 (October 2011), pp. 589-613.

This article in an early study as part of a larger exploration into the experience and ways of knowing of modern spaces in the contemporary city.