Get Pumped: 8 Filling Stations Fueled By Great Design

Matt Shaw Matt Shaw

Gas stations are an intriguing building type. One could argue that they are really what make American Modernism possible, as they act as a network of fueling points for its car-based urbanism. Each station has to cover its pumps from the elements, and so very large canopies are required. Beyond shelter, however, these canopies are free to take myriad forms.

Combine this freedom with the semiotics of highway advertising, and the stations of the mid-20th century became a Googie spectacular of their own. Designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Dorwin Teague (of Kodak Brownie fame) have jumped into the mix, and even Mies van der Rohe designed one.

The unbridled spirit of the American car and roadside has been tampered by the now-obvious problems with a gas guzzling lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean that gas stations have become completely boring — just check out these cool filling stations from the Architizer database.

Helios House by Offce dA, Los Angeles, CA

The Helios House attempts to combine the separate elements of a station — pay kiosk, store, signs, and canopy — into one piece. The faceted design envelops these functions into a singular seamless surface.

Fuel Station + McDonald’s by Khmaladze Architects, Batumi, Georgia

This is an amazing rest stop, with an open-air landscaped court yard for the McDonald’s, and a soaring canopy that covers the gas station.

Shonzino Gas-Station by Barel Architectes, Tel Aviv, Israel

On its backside, the cantilevered station floats above a glass wall, while becoming a canopy on its front, joining the two functions.

Esposende Gas Station by Caldeira Figueiredo Architects, Esposende, Portugal

This station continues our theme of integrated parts with its light-edged canopy that encapsulates the structure and pumps. Fat, sloped columns under the canopy contrast with a lighter, glass building.

GAS – gas station chain by Atelier SAD, Matúškovo, Slovakia

Speaking of Frank Lloyd Wright, this station’s large concrete columns merge with the ceiling. Orange lights outline the canopy and match the sign above, while a pink neon light illuminates a contrasting and completely separate wood structure.

United Oil Gasoline Station by Kanner Architects, Los Angeles, CA

This carwash and gas station are a throwback to Los Angeles’ past as a Googie wonderland. Its swooping canopy references the highways, while the metal signage harkens back to the days of building signs.

Litro Premium Gas Station by Eight Inc., Bucharest, Romania

Part nightclub interior, part gas station, this Romanian structure attempts to change the way gas is delivered. Simple forms and color are meant to be different and engage consumers more directly.

Gazoline Petrol Station by Damilano Studio Architects, Piemonte, Italy

The gas station is made of concrete, broken by glass walls, and is meant to merge with the urban landscape without interruption.