Lodève > panoramic motorway rest area

Lodève > panoramic motorway rest area

The site for the future belvedere presents a steep gradient, meaning the future structure would require a fully blown piece of civil engineering. Horizontal surfaces for car parks and picnic areas were virtually non-existent, and the surrounding land thus needed terracing. The King Kong design endeavoured to make full use of the topography of the site and the existing vegetation. Stunning views were to be provided over the town of Lodève and the design comprises a descending pathway leading to a belvedere supported by a wall projecting out onto a bridge. The deck of the bridge provides access for vehicles to car parking and also pedestrian areas. The whole structure is clad in Nergalto and coated in shotcrete with painted motifs. A pedestrian walkway links the bridge to the terraced picnic areas nestling against the rise of the land. They are planted with vegetation chosen from among the palette of plant varieties found in and around the site. The urban furnishings, public lavatories and lighting have been treated with bright colours, partly using mosaic technique. The formal vocabulary of the furnishings and lavatories involves mythological, anthropomorphic and animal references, thereby inviting the visitor into an imaginary dream world, like other famous parks such as Gaudi’s Guell Park or Niki de Saint Phalle’s park in Tuscany. Like mouth-shaped fountains, the public lavatories resemble spangled, multi-coloured grottos. The bridge is also clad in richly coloured attire, creating a sense of enchantment. Any reference to a road bridge has been carefully avoided and the work resembles a vibrantly coloured snake, held aloft by props of prismatic inspiration. The design’s force lies in its capacity to generate new myths and objects redolent with meaning which will go on to become an integral part of the town’s architectural legacy.
program
construction of a panoramic motorway rest area
project management
atelier d’architecture King Kong, Egis Montpellier, Anouk Debarre
client: Hérault County Public Works Department
location: tunnel de Lodève (34)
Cost (VAT included): 3 000 000 €
date: competition 2004
images/photos: atelier d'architecture King Kong, Anouk Debarre, D3îles
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