It’s likely you didn’t even notice the architecture of the gas stations you pulled into this last labor day weekend… but if you did it was probably not because they looked good. Most places you fill up have had their design considered for about 0.2 seconds – before moving on to placing the soft drinks quickly at hand, the dingy toilets hidden somewhere out back and the credit card machine handy. That hasn’t always been the case however, as seen by these beautiful modernist designs from the bygone era – when cars were chrome covered and filling up the tank was the station attendant’s job.
Back in that era, architects like Albert Frey, Mies Van Der Rohe, and Willem Dudok didn’t shy away from gas station design, and turned out some masterpieces channeling the mid-century ethos of forward thinking. Our favorite in this small collection is the 1958 design for Dutch fuel company Purfina. Look at the lines of this fantastic building! It’s a marketer, typographer and architect’s dream all rolled into one. It looks like the kind of thing you mock up in drafting class, knowing that it will never become a reality.
It’s high time we start considering gas/petrol/fuel station design again. This is a forgotten realm of design that is dying for a revival. See more examples in this collection at Present & Correct.