julius taminiau nature outlet
The nature outlet is a refuge and a sanctuary; a chance for drivers to recharge their electric cars while they themselves recharge and rest in an environment of gentle greenery and organic forms.
The station is based around the key concept of a circular canopy that contains a hidden oasis, hardly visible from the outside except through slim gaps in the timber cladding. Parking spaces surround this circular canopy, with columns that offer structural support as well as charging points for the cars to plug into. Drivers pull up, plug in their car, and then enter into the enclosed courtyard space through openings in the structure, where they discover a landscape of mixed terrain; trees, flowers, wetlands and ponds, and natural play areas. The circulation allows for autonomous discovery by offering a slow meander round the outside or exploration through paths winding within the garden. The undulating cladding creates organic shaped spaces under the canopy that enclose a café/ restaurant and WCs.
The charging station satisfies the brief both in terms of service and experience. It offers spaces for a maximum capacity of 53 cars. The interior spaces are comprised of a flexible sitting/ dining area with a catering offer of a café bar for sandwiches and drinks. There are 13 WCs, three Accessible WCs, and two baby change areas. The outdoor areas consist of walkways, both covered and open, viewing platforms on the pond, and a children’s play area.
The experience of the nature outlet offers a restorative respite from a long stint on the road for a weary solo driver or family of restless children. The natural space within responds and fluctuates throughout the seasons, keeping in touch with the Canadian climate. Outdoor open areas offer fresh air in the warmer months, while in the colder seasons visitors can sit at the bar and look out onto the garden through the expansive glazing. The sheltered walkway means that even in the winter drivers can wrap up warm and take a walk around the space, enjoying the greenery and fresh air after a stuffy stint in the car.
The garden in the centre of the scheme is varied and multi-functional. The approach to landscaping is one of re-wilding and minimal intervention, to act as a contrast to the highly planned infrastructure of the road. The space is made up of a gently rolling terrain with walkways that weave their way through it, mimicking the natural paths that form in forests and hilly areas. Areas of different planting types and earth quality are encouraged; so various flowers are grown in some areas, while ponds create a good environment for wildlife and reeds in other places. Through this process the garden becomes its own circular eco-system, away from the polluted business of the road. The fact that all the nearby cars are, by nature of the charging station, electric means that the air quality will remain clean enough for this microhabitat to develop. The paths extend out to viewing platforms over the ponds, allowing the drivers to observe the wildlife moving and growing around them. Even the play area is symbiotic and integrated into this natural environment. It takes advantage of the varied topography to create a natural climbing wall, and all the play structures are made from found materials such as tree trunks and rocks. This ethos of natural materials and sustainable choices is carried throughout the scheme which is constructed mainly from timber and natural stone.
julius taminiau nature outlet