Streamlined service station
ANTWERP (BE) - Along the motorway between Antwerp and Ghent stands a shiny new service station designed by Bontinck architecture and engineering, which is nothing like what we are used to. Abandoning the repetitive familiarity hitherto offered by oil companies and motorway restaurant chains, the architects have served up a shiny silver blob that is a cross between a UFO and a vintage American camper van.
The building gives the impression of a single fluid whole, an effect achieved with the help of a technique borrowed from boat building. A coating of polyurethane was sprayed onto the pre-formed blocks of insulation material, producing a facade that presents as one seamless, undulating surface. The massive rectangular awning of the old service station has also been replaced by an appropriately fluid shape, and the car park and surrounds have been redesigned as an undulating landscape.
In plan the building is a bit like a three-lobed oil stain. The recesses, where the public functions are located, are very open with large expanses of glass interrupted by protruding rectangular entrances – the only angular elements in the building. The behind-the-scenes functions, such as the kitchen, washrooms and storage, are located in the lobes, which have a closed facade. On the side with the entrance to the restaurant and shop, visitors are confronted by cars zooming past on the motorway, the following recess contains the rest area, a sea of gently rolling lawns and car parking, and the third view is anchored in the adjacent landscape of gyrating wind turbines. This is clearly not the usual spatial vacuum of interchangeable service stations. Here you find yourself in a hinge point between incessant speed and a haven of rest.
Objects, Transport |