Thelocation of Heverlee Delek creates an oasis in which the traveller/commuter canrelax within a contemporary environment to refuel, shop and eat beforecontinuing their journey. Starting from the E40; a strong infrastructure vein,fast traffic is refined and reduced until finally distilled into quieterparking spaces and picnic areas. These areas visually meander and flow into the surrounding landscape andbeyond.
Central to the idea of theplan is a pedestrian axis. This directs traffic to specific areas, solelydedicated for the purpose of rest and relaxation. This ‘walking-axis’ offersthe possibility for users to experience the surroundings and to pleasantlyreach the service station in safety. Byorganising specific service station facilities in a logical and considered way,clarity is expressed; further enhancing the paramount importance of pedestriansafety.
All facilities are located conveniently on a service island containingparking spaces. These spaces are located on either side of the service stationforecourt. Thelandscape study showed that this location lies in a spatially and ecologicallyvaluable area, an area that humans have used too often for their own gains.Thedesign goal follows the principles of ecological project management, takinginto account functional demands to:• Enable the site to be returned to nature.
The design repays nature by makingnew forest clusters where trees once stood• Re-establish the continuity of the Egenhoven Forrest• Limit the use of impermeable surfaces• Minimise the built footprint• Realise a compact building volume with a sustainable principle structure and aflexible substructureThearchitecture serves to continue the notion of creating a subtle structure setwithin a rural context.
At thecentre of the overall landscape lies the service station. This area is intendedfor refuelling, loading and unloading; it also facilitates a shop, a restaurantand a hotel. The petrol station is separated by a pedestrian path which runsparallel to the traffic flow. Indeed, running transverse to this path, thebuilding is organised in such a way as to allow the traveller to take a stepback from the noise and bustle of the busy highway.The principle building is constructed using a‘superstructure’ consisting of a canopy and a roof.
The roof is carried bycolumns made from white concrete. These columns are positioned in a crisscrossformation. Infill modules created in glass, with a negative imprint of leafytrees, slide underneath the super structure to emphasise the transparency ofthe structure set against the white surroundings..