Text description provided by the architects. 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.
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 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.
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 steel-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.
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.