Calder Woodburn Rest Area / BKK Architects

© John Gollings

Architects: BKK Architects
Location: Goulburn Valley Highway Shepparton Vic Australia
Project team: Julian Kosloff, Simon Knott, Tim Black, Stephanie Bullock, Rory Hyde
Structural engineer: Meinhardt
Landscape architect: VicRoads Landscape and Urban Design
Project area: 549 sqm
Project year: 2008
Photographs: John Gollings

© John Gollings

The Roadside Service Station

There is a long and rich history of the service station within Australia. The familiar image of the large floating roof providing shelter to the amenities of the service provider is a strong memory for all who have undertaken a road trip. It performs a vital role in the rest and re-supply needs of the traveler. These places mark a point in a journey, a place for pausing, a place for reflection. The roof serves as both shelter and icon, signaling to the passerby while serving the practical function of sheltering the amenities below. Our project celebrates this imagery.

© John Gollings

The Civic Monument

Monuments are an integral and familiar part of cities and towns. They provide a valuable insight into the culture of a place and locate it within a broader history. Our building is placed on a plinth that raises it out of the flood plain and gives the structure a civic monumentality that encourages readings and understandings beyond the notion of the ‘toilet block’. This building is to be read as a gateway to the Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue (CWMA) and also to the larger Shepparton Area.

The CWMA naming plaque has been relocated amongst a landscaped system of paths and planting adjacent to the rest station. Visitors will pause to read the plaque against the backdrop of planting that repeats the Avenue of Honour as they make their way to the picnic tables.


The Diagram

The diagrams represent the nucleus of an idea. The diagrams describe the disbursed nature of planting within the landscape, in particular the prominent trees such as the CWMA, and suggest a way in which this might be focussed around a single civic structure.The diagrams also suggest a different reading of this landscape by directing the views through a series of elements, in much the same way as the trees within the Avenue provide fleeting glimpses and frame the expansive views of the flood plains beyond.

© John Gollings

Materiality and Construction

The construction of the toilet blocks themselves utilises standard road building techniques of pre-cast concrete units located on a reinforced concrete slab. This process minimises on-site time, labor and construction costs. The -framed roof is then built over these units to provide shelter.

The cylindrical units are reminiscent of pre-cast elements used in road and bridge building that one encounters by the side of the road. The interior partitions are constructed from brightly coloured glazed bricks providing a ‘jewel-like’ visual contrast to the internal concrete shell. Materials have been chosen for their robustness and low maintenance.

© John Gollings


The siting of the structures is designed to emphasise the linearity and contained views of the CWMA. The main iconic toilet block acts as a signpost to the rest station with uninterrupted views to and from the Highway. The arrangement of the remainder of the facility is in a series of bands that screen different areas such as the carpark from the picnic areas. Expansive views of the floodplains to the north open up as one moves through these layers.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Calder Woodburn Rest Area / BKK Architects" 21 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • Anne

    I do not know about design, but the photos are amazing!

  • up_today_arch

    Pictures are always very impotant:)))…
    But I think the design also very nice… Easy and well done…

  • Damian Holmes

    John Gollings is one of the best architecture photographers around.

  • John

    It’s nice to see this much thought going into a structure as humble as a rest stop…if only we had such rest stops in the US.

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