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The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station


Gas stations might be boring or even ugly places, but for the most part, you can’t avoid stopping by one on a long trip. However, they have been so many more beyond the basic design of columns, roof and shop over their history.
The following 60+1 filling stations encompass almost a century of architectural progression, showcasing some of the best Art Deco, Bauhaus, futurist, brutalist, minimalist, modernist, Googie building designs of the motorist history. Enjoy the ride!
Lawrence’ filling station in Clapham, south London, 1921.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images


A rural petrol station with a cosy waiting room in Colnbrook, England, 1927.


The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Ragsdale and Hansen’s Station No. 1., with a touch of Art Deco. Los Angeles, California, ca.1920-1929.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: USCDL
Gilmore Oil Company’s Blu-Green gas station. Los Angeles, California, ca.1920-1929.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: USCDL
A motorist refueling his Renault car at a bucolic Shell filling station at Blashford, Hampshire, England, 1930.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Fox Photos/Getty Images
Art Deco service station and showroom. Norment Motor Co., Inc., Lumberton, N. C. ca. 1930–1945.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Boston Public Library
Geo. W. Wilcox, Inc., 100 Federal St., Greenfield, Massachusetts, ca. 1930–1945.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Boston Public Library
Roarin’ Rohrer’s Streamline Moderne gas station, McAlester, Oklahoma, ca. 1930–1945.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Boston Public Library
An Art Deco Liberty Gasoline service station, Southern California, 1931.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: USCDL
A new hacienda style Union Oil gas station, Southern California, 1932.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: USCDL
Gasoline Mosque: an Union Oil Service station with strong Islamic influence. North Alexandria Avenue & Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, 1932.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: USCDL
Moorish touch: Beacon Oil Company Gas Station, 107 Winn Street, Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Library of Congress
Lighthouse mixed with Mexican style. Union Oil station, Southern California, 1933
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: USCDL
Shell gas station in Raleigh, North Carolina, built in the late 1930s by the Quality Oil Company.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress
A beautifully restored Art Deco Conoco gasoline station in Shamrock, Texas. (Built in 1936.)
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress
The Skovshoved Tankstation is a functionalist style gas station in Skovshoved, Denmark, designed by Arne Jacobsen, opened in 1936.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: © Villy Fink Isaksen, Wikimedia Commons, License cc-by-sa-3.0
‘Auto Palace’ service station for Texaco, in Nijmegen, Netherlands, 1936. Architects: B.J. Meerman and Johan van der Pijll.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Paul van Galen/Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed
The legendary Fiat Tagliero, a Futurist-style service station in Asmara, Eritrea. Designed by the Italian architect Giuseppe Pettazzi, completed in 1938.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: sailko/Wikimedia Commons
A little Bauhaus gem: Shell self-service gas station near Purkersdorf, Austria, c1940.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Muzeum Antikvarium
An Art Deco Gilmore gas station, Los Angeles, California, c1940.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: USCDL
Art Deco Union Oil station, c1940.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: 76
Streamline Moderne: Richfield gas station in Redding, California, 1942.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Russell Lee/Library of Congress
Firestone filling station, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1942.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: John Vachon/Library of Congress
A motorist refuelling his Standard Vanguard at a rural Shell petrol station in Eastbourne, East Sussex, 1949.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images
The Italian art of steel and reinforced concrete: Aquila service station, Sesto San Giovanni (MI), Italy, 1949. Architect: Aldo Favini.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Fondazione Favini
Another Streamline Moderne beauty: a Guul filling station, United States, c1950
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
A YPF (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales) gas station in Chacarita, Buenos Aires, 1951.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Archivo General de la Nación (AGN)/Wikimedia Commons
A beautiful futuristic petrol station, Piazzale Accursio, Milan, Italy. Designed by architect Mario Bacciocchi, 1954.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Aldo Ballo/alessandromenini.it
Designed by German architect professor, Walter Haemer, this Dea service station has a roof that is suspended on steel ropes hanging from concrete arch. Hannover, Germany, 1956.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: AP
Agip service station, Moncalieri, Italy, 1958
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: ENI
Agip service station, San Donato Milanese, Italy, 1958
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: ENI
Agip service station, Cerignola, Italy, 1958
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: ENI
Purfina service station, Arnhem, Netherlands, 1958
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Hans Pies/GVNL
Agip service station on state highway 16, Barletta, Italy, 1959
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: ENI
Nice hyperboloid structure: a 90-ton reinforced concrete roof at a National service station in Retford, England, 1961.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: AP
Carousel or gas station? Turnbull’s self-service petrol station in Plymouth, Devon, 1963.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A forward leaning steel structure. Alamo gas station, Serape Belt, East Los Angeles, 1964.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Ellis R. Bosworth/AP
Pegasus gas station. Designed by Elliot Noyes for Mobil, 1964.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Detroit Public Library
The Sinclair Super Service Station was built exclusively for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Sinclair Oil
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Screencaps: Sinclair Oil
A Googie architecture masterpiece: the Jack Colker Union 76 gas station in Beverly Hills, designed by William Pereira (Gin Wong Associates), 1965.
Another Googie gem: Orbit gas station, Sacramento, 1960s. Space age design at its best!
Brutalist beauty: Milan Mihelič Gas station Petrol, Ljubljana, 1968.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Démodé postcards//Démodé postcards
The modernist flying saucer of Council Plaza, St. Louis, 1968. Architects: Schwarz & Van Hoefen. It was originally a Phillips 66 gas station.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Paul Sableman
Fueling station with reinforced concrete roof, Baghdad, Iraq (built c1970).
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division Public Affairs
Wing shaped concrete roof on a gas station in Baghdad, Iraq (built c1970).
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images
A modern and colorful AGIP station, somewhere in Italy, 1972.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Fortean
EP Southbank Service Station, London, 1973.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Evening Standard/Getty Images
The ugliest yet most popular gas station design, you can see everywhere beside the roads nowadays.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Repsol Service Stations, Spain, designed by architect Norman Foster, 1997.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Repsol
A futuristic PetroChina gas station in Wuhai, China, 2004.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Greg Baker/Getty Images
The neo-futurist Helios House, Los Angeles, designed by Office dA in Boston and Johnston Marklee Architects in Los Angeles, built in 2007.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Collins
21st century modern: A1 Gas Station, Madrid, Spain. Designed by Moneo-Brock, 2007.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Moneo-Brock
Eco station with photovoltaic roof: Acciona service station, Legarda, Spain. Designed by ah asociados, 2007.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: José Manuel Cutillas/ah asociados
Norwegian wood: Statoil gas station, Hommelstø, Velfjord, Norway, 2008.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Johan Arnt Groven/Wikimedia Commons
Litro Premium Gas Station by Eight Inc. for Rompetrol, Bucharest, Romania, 2009.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Eight Inc.
United Oil Gasoline Station, Los Angeles, California. Designed by Kanner Architects, 2009.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: United Pacific
Gazoline Petrol Station, Cuneo, Italy, by architects Duilio Damilano and Alberto Pascale, 2011.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Duilio Damilano/Archilovers
Gas Station designed by Adam Jirkal & Jerry Koza (Atelier SAD), Slovakia, Matúškovo, 2011.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Atelier SAD
Fuel Station + McDonald’s, Batumi, Georgia, by Giorgi Khmaladze Architects, 2012-13.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Giorgi Khmaladze
Esposende Gas Station by Caldeira Figueiredo Arquitectos, Esposende, Portugal, 2013.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: Caldeira Figueiredo
And the future is here: Tesla-Supercharger-station, Aosta, Italy.
The Amazing Architectural Evolution of the Filling Station
Image: id metalco

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