advertisement
advertisement

9 Gorgeous Gas Stations Throughout History

Filling up doesn’t have to be as hard on the eyes as it is on the planet.

Gas stations are rarely known for their aesthetics. Looking like a truck stop is no compliment for a work of architecture. It hasn’t always been so: In the early days of American car culture, gas stations were designed with enough architectural flamboyance to lure customers off the highway. As driving has become an ingrained way of life, though, that extra design effort has fallen by the wayside. Though in general we’re not a huge fan of city driving, as long as people continue to rely on cars, there will have to be places to fuel up. Why make car infrastructure more of a blight on the landscape than it already is?

advertisement

Some of the best-known architects of our time have set their sights on gas station architecture, from midcentury icons like Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, to Jean Prouvé to Norman Foster. In a new book from Architizer founder Marc Kushner, The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings, Kushner devotes an entire section to this car-centic architecture that outclasses the barren Shell stations of today by a mile.

Check out these nine gas stations whose architects sought to reinvent this essential aspect of traveling by automobile. From an art deco palace from the earliest days of Route 66 to the contradictory notion of an eco-friendly L.A. gas pump, these designs go above and beyond the basic concrete pump station and convenience store.

About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.

More

Video