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. Image: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images A rural petrol station with a cosy waiting room in Colnbrook, England, 1927. Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Ragsdale and Hansen’s Station No. 1., with a touch of Art Deco. Los Angeles, California, ca.1920-1929. Gilmore Oil Company’s Blu-Green gas station. Los Angeles, California, ca.1920-1929. A motorist refueling his Renault car at a bucolic Shell filling station at Blashford, Hampshire, England, 1930. Image: Fox Photos/Getty Images Art Deco service station and showroom. Norment Motor Co., Inc., Lumberton, N. C. ca. 1930–1945. Geo. W. Wilcox, Inc., 100 Federal St., Greenfield, Massachusetts, ca. 1930–1945. Roarin’ Rohrer’s Streamline Moderne gas station, McAlester, Oklahoma, ca. 1930–1945. An Art Deco Liberty Gasoline service station, Southern California, 1931. A new hacienda style Union Oil gas station, Southern California, 1932. Gasoline Mosque: an Union Oil Service station with strong Islamic influence. North Alexandria Avenue & Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, 1932. Moorish touch: Beacon Oil Company Gas Station, 107 Winn Street, Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Lighthouse mixed with Mexican style. Union Oil station, Southern California, 1933 Shell gas station in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, built in the late 1930s by the Quality Oil Company. A beautifully restored Art Deco Conoco gasoline station in Shamrock, Texas. (Built in 1936.) The Skovshoved Tankstation is a functionalist style gas station in Skovshoved, Denmark, designed by Arne Jacobsen, opened in 1936. ‘Auto Palace’ service station for Texaco, in Nijmegen, Netherlands, 1936. Architects: B.J. Meerman and Johan van der Pijll. The legendary Fiat Tagliero, a Futurist-style service station in Asmara, Eritrea. Designed by the Italian architect Giuseppe Pettazzi, completed in 1938. A little Bauhaus gem: Shell self-service gas station near Purkersdorf, Austria, c1940. An Art Deco Gilmore gas station, Los Angeles, California, c1940. Art Deco Union Oil station, c1940. Streamline Moderne: Richfield gas station in Redding, California, 1942. Firestone filling station, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1942. A motorist refuelling his Standard Vanguard at a rural Shell petrol station in Eastbourne, East Sussex, 1949. 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. Another Streamline Moderne beauty: a Guul filling station, United States, c1950 Image: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images A YPF (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales) gas station in Chacarita, Buenos Aires, 1951. A beautiful futuristic petrol station, Piazzale Accursio, Milan, Italy. Designed by architect Mario Bacciocchi, 1954. 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. Agip service station, Moncalieri, Italy, 1958 Agip service station, San Donato Milanese, Italy, 1958 Agip service station, Cerignola, Italy, 1958 Purfina service station, Arnhem, Netherlands, 1958 Agip service station on state highway 16, Barletta, Italy, 1959 Nice hyperboloid structure: a 90-ton reinforced concrete roof at a National service station in Retford, England, 1961. Carousel or gas station? Turnbull’s self-service petrol station in Plymouth, Devon, 1963. Image: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images A forward leaning steel structure. Alamo gas station, Serape Belt, East Los Angeles, 1964. Image: Ellis R. Bosworth/AP Pegasus gas station. Designed by Elliot Noyes for Mobil, 1964. The Sinclair Super Service Station was built exclusively for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. 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 modernist flying saucer of Council Plaza, St. Louis, 1968. Architects: Schwarz & Van Hoefen. It was originally a Phillips 66 gas station. Fueling station with reinforced concrete roof, Baghdad, Iraq (built c1970). Wing shaped concrete roof on a gas station in Baghdad, Iraq (built c1970). Image: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images A modern and colorful AGIP station, somewhere in Italy, 1972. EP Southbank Service Station, London, 1973. Image: Evening Standard/Getty Images The ugliest yet most popular gas station design, you can see everywhere beside the roads nowadays. Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images Repsol Service Stations, Spain, designed by architect Norman Foster, 1997. A futuristic PetroChina gas station in Wuhai, China, 2004. 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. 21st century modern: A1 Gas Station, Madrid, Spain. Designed by Moneo-Brock, 2007. Eco station with photovoltaic roof: Acciona service station, Legarda, Spain. Designed by ah asociados, 2007. Norwegian wood: Statoil gas station, Hommelstø, Velfjord, Norway, 2008. Litro Premium Gas Station by Eight Inc. for Rompetrol, Bucharest, Romania, 2009. United Oil Gasoline Station, Los Angeles, California. Designed by Kanner Architects, 2009. Gazoline Petrol Station, Cuneo, Italy, by architects Duilio Damilano and Alberto Pascale, 2011. Gas Station designed by Adam Jirkal & Jerry Koza (Atelier SAD), Slovakia, Matúškovo, 2011. Fuel Station + McDonald’s, Batumi, Georgia, by Giorgi Khmaladze Architects, 2012-13. Esposende Gas Station by Caldeira Figueiredo Arquitectos, Esposende, Portugal, 2013. And the future is here: Tesla-Supercharger-station, Aosta, Italy.