Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Brockholes Wetland Nature Reserve, by Adam Khan Architects

Moored in a flooded gravel pit off the M6, Adam Khan Architects’ Brockholes Wetland Nature Reserve visitor centre forms
a gateway to nature
Motorway service stations can be singularly depressing places. Cloned formulas of fast-food outlets and amusement arcades, they are sites of a strange limbo, where bleary-eyed truckers mingle with hordes of screeching toddlers in a low-rise Tarmacscape. Identikit sheds, they could be anywhere — brief respites along an infinite number of routes from A to B.
Sometimes there are attempts to make them more contextual. As if mocking your captivity, “interpretation boards” describe the nearby historic landmarks and sites of natural interest — things that you will never see while you munch on your insipid, microwaved pasty.
Marc Augé, who coined the phase “non-place” in 1995, wrote that motorway travel is doubly remarkable, because “it avoids, for functional reasons, all the principal places to which it takes us; and it makes comments on them”. Bypassing places, roads are instead lined with signs listing notable features, absolving drivers of the need to stop or even look...
Read the full article here
Originally published in BD, 7 September 2011