Black Friday Is Almost Here!
The Inventory team is rounding up deals you don’t want to miss, now through Cyber Monday. Click here to browse!

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.

Advertisement

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.

Image: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
Image: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
Advertisement

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

Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Ragsdale and Hansen’s Station No. 1., with a touch of Art Deco. Los Angeles, California, ca.1920-1929.

Image: USCDL
Image: USCDL
Advertisement

Gilmore Oil Company’s Blu-Green gas station. Los Angeles, California, ca.1920-1929.

Image: USCDL
Image: USCDL
Advertisement

A motorist refueling his Renault car at a bucolic Shell filling station at Blashford, Hampshire, England, 1930.

Image: Fox Photos/Getty Images
Image: Fox Photos/Getty Images
Advertisement

Art Deco service station and showroom. Norment Motor Co., Inc., Lumberton, N. C. ca. 1930–1945.

Advertisement

Geo. W. Wilcox, Inc., 100 Federal St., Greenfield, Massachusetts, ca. 1930–1945.

Advertisement

Roarin’ Rohrer’s Streamline Moderne gas station, McAlester, Oklahoma, ca. 1930–1945.

Advertisement

An Art Deco Liberty Gasoline service station, Southern California, 1931.

Image: USCDL
Image: USCDL
Advertisement

A new hacienda style Union Oil gas station, Southern California, 1932.

Image: USCDL
Image: USCDL
Advertisement

Gasoline Mosque: an Union Oil Service station with strong Islamic influence. North Alexandria Avenue & Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, 1932.

Image: USCDL
Image: USCDL
Advertisement

Moorish touch: Beacon Oil Company Gas Station, 107 Winn Street, Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

Advertisement

Lighthouse mixed with Mexican style. Union Oil station, Southern California, 1933

Image: USCDL
Image: USCDL
Advertisement

Shell gas station in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, built in the late 1930s by the Quality Oil Company.

Advertisement

A beautifully restored Art Deco Conoco gasoline station in Shamrock, Texas. (Built in 1936.)

Advertisement

The Skovshoved Tankstation is a functionalist style gas station in Skovshoved, Denmark, designed by Arne Jacobsen, opened in 1936.

Image: © Villy Fink Isaksen, Wikimedia Commons, License cc-by-sa-3.0
Image: © Villy Fink Isaksen, Wikimedia Commons, License cc-by-sa-3.0
Advertisement

‘Auto Palace’ service station for Texaco, in Nijmegen, Netherlands, 1936. Architects: B.J. Meerman and Johan van der Pijll.

Advertisement

The legendary Fiat Tagliero, a Futurist-style service station in Asmara, Eritrea. Designed by the Italian architect Giuseppe Pettazzi, completed in 1938.

Advertisement

A little Bauhaus gem: Shell self-service gas station near Purkersdorf, Austria, c1940.

Advertisement

An Art Deco Gilmore gas station, Los Angeles, California, c1940.

Image: USCDL
Image: USCDL
Advertisement

Art Deco Union Oil station, c1940.

Image: 76
Image: 76
Advertisement

Streamline Moderne: Richfield gas station in Redding, California, 1942.

Advertisement

Firestone filling station, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1942.

Advertisement

A motorist refuelling his Standard Vanguard at a rural Shell petrol station in Eastbourne, East Sussex, 1949.

Image: William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images
Image: William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images
Advertisement

The Italian art of steel and reinforced concrete: Aquila service station, Sesto San Giovanni (MI), Italy, 1949. Architect: Aldo Favini.

Advertisement

Another Streamline Moderne beauty: a Guul filling station, United States, c1950

Image: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
Image: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
Advertisement

A YPF (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales) gas station in Chacarita, Buenos Aires, 1951.

Advertisement

A beautiful futuristic petrol station, Piazzale Accursio, Milan, Italy. Designed by architect Mario Bacciocchi, 1954.

Advertisement

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.

Image: AP
Image: AP
Advertisement

Agip service station, Moncalieri, Italy, 1958

Image: ENI
Image: ENI
Advertisement

Agip service station, San Donato Milanese, Italy, 1958

Image: ENI
Image: ENI
Advertisement

Agip service station, Cerignola, Italy, 1958

Image: ENI
Image: ENI
Advertisement

Purfina service station, Arnhem, Netherlands, 1958

Advertisement

Agip service station on state highway 16, Barletta, Italy, 1959

Image: ENI
Image: ENI
Advertisement

Nice hyperboloid structure: a 90-ton reinforced concrete roof at a National service station in Retford, England, 1961.

Image: AP
Image: AP
Advertisement

Carousel or gas station? Turnbull’s self-service petrol station in Plymouth, Devon, 1963.

Image: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Image: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Advertisement

A forward leaning steel structure. Alamo gas station, Serape Belt, East Los Angeles, 1964.

Image: Ellis R. Bosworth/AP
Image: Ellis R. Bosworth/AP
Advertisement

Pegasus gas station. Designed by Elliot Noyes for Mobil, 1964.

Advertisement

The Sinclair Super Service Station was built exclusively for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.

Image: Sinclair Oil
Image: Sinclair Oil
Advertisement
Screencaps: Sinclair Oil
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.

Advertisement

Another Googie gem: Orbit gas station, Sacramento, 1960s. Space age design at its best!

Advertisement

Brutalist beauty: Milan Mihelič Gas station Petrol, Ljubljana, 1968.

Advertisement

The modernist flying saucer of Council Plaza, St. Louis, 1968. Architects: Schwarz & Van Hoefen. It was originally a Phillips 66 gas station.

Image: Paul Sableman
Image: Paul Sableman
Advertisement

Fueling station with reinforced concrete roof, Baghdad, Iraq (built c1970).

Advertisement

Wing shaped concrete roof on a gas station in Baghdad, Iraq (built c1970).

Image: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images
Image: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images
Advertisement

A modern and colorful AGIP station, somewhere in Italy, 1972.

Image: Fortean
Image: Fortean
Advertisement

EP Southbank Service Station, London, 1973.

Image: Evening Standard/Getty Images
Image: Evening Standard/Getty Images
Advertisement

The ugliest yet most popular gas station design, you can see everywhere beside the roads nowadays.

Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Advertisement

Repsol Service Stations, Spain, designed by architect Norman Foster, 1997.

Image: Repsol
Image: Repsol
Advertisement

A futuristic PetroChina gas station in Wuhai, China, 2004.

Image: Greg Baker/Getty Images
Image: Greg Baker/Getty Images
Advertisement

The neo-futurist Helios House, Los Angeles, designed by Office dA in Boston and Johnston Marklee Architects in Los Angeles, built in 2007.

Image: Collins
Image: Collins
Advertisement

21st century modern: A1 Gas Station, Madrid, Spain. Designed by Moneo-Brock, 2007.

Image: Moneo-Brock
Image: Moneo-Brock
Advertisement

Eco station with photovoltaic roof: Acciona service station, Legarda, Spain. Designed by ah asociados, 2007.

Advertisement

Norwegian wood: Statoil gas station, Hommelstø, Velfjord, Norway, 2008.

Advertisement

Litro Premium Gas Station by Eight Inc. for Rompetrol, Bucharest, Romania, 2009.

Image: Eight Inc.
Image: Eight Inc.
Advertisement

United Oil Gasoline Station, Los Angeles, California. Designed by Kanner Architects, 2009.

Advertisement

Gazoline Petrol Station, Cuneo, Italy, by architects Duilio Damilano and Alberto Pascale, 2011.

Advertisement

Gas Station designed by Adam Jirkal & Jerry Koza (Atelier SAD), Slovakia, Matúškovo, 2011.

Image: Atelier SAD
Image: Atelier SAD
Advertisement

Fuel Station + McDonald’s, Batumi, Georgia, by Giorgi Khmaladze Architects, 2012-13.

Advertisement

Esposende Gas Station by Caldeira Figueiredo Arquitectos, Esposende, Portugal, 2013.

Advertisement

And the future is here: Tesla-Supercharger-station, Aosta, Italy.

Image: id metalco
Image: id metalco
Advertisement

image curator, photo editor, photographer // budapest, hungary

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

urambotauro
Urambo Tauro

I find it odd that it took so long for canopies to become standard. It’s surprising that there are still some stations in service that offer no rain protection.