A welcome break
The Gloucester Gateway takes motorway service station design in a new direction. Situated on the M5 between Stroud and Gloucester, these services are based around the concept of sustainability.
Built from natural materials, they serve home cooked food, sell local produce, and there isn’t a franchise in sight.
Constructing a 60,000m2 motorway service area on either side of the busy M5 is challenge enough, but the complexity of BuroHappold’s role was increased by our client’s brief for the vast structures to blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.
We worked closely with the architect to develop a form and arrangement for the buildings that felt organic within the countryside. This began with devising foundations that would compensate for the uneven topography of the site, and allow the services to nestle neatly within a nook among the hills.
The structures are made primarily from timber, a material that has low environmental impact and creates a warm internal environment. This glow is echoed by the external walls, which are clad in the local golden Cotswold stone, extending a warm welcome to customers that radiates from the inside out. Each building is topped with a green roof, completing its visual integration with the landscape and creating habitat for wildlife.
To keep project costs down, our engineers used parametric tools to realise the complex structural geometry of the services using standardised components. Part of this strategy included limiting the visually appealing timber structures to the public areas, and using a more utilitarian solution for back of house.
It took great engineering ingenuity to deliver the vision for unobtrusive, natural-looking buildings that showcase and celebrate the sustainable ethos at the heart of this project. The result is a masterclass in low energy, high quality architecture and engineering, which offers a clear route toward more thoughtful and sustainable motorway services provision.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply