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autoviva2012-09-14 10:02:53

10 iconic gas stations from the past

Not many decades ago, a car wasn't such a common commodity as it is today. In the 1930s, driving, and especially extensive cross-country journeys, were a rather exclusive hobby to have. Accordingly luxurious appear some of the gas station designs from back then, true art deco palaces even.

Then in the post-war years of economic boom, when accessible micro cars started to enter the markets in the USA and Europe, the masses started to hop into their Beetles and Fiat 500s to discover the world behind their backyard. Suddenly, as a whole new infrastructure of gas stations along the national highways and roads was required to feed millions of thirsty guzzlers, functionality started to be in vogue.

1965 Jack Colker Union Gas Station, Beverly Hills

The iconic, curved roof of the Jack Colker Union gas station makes it a landmark along the Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills. The elegant structure was originally designed by Gin Wong for the LAX Airport, but was then recycled for the service station in 1965. Remarkably, it is one of the few historic gas stations in this list, that still serves its customers.

1965 Tramway Gas Station, Palm Springs

Another landmark on California's gas station map is the 1965 Tramway station - today a visitors center - designed by Albert Frey and regarded an outstanding example of modernist architecture. The wedge-shaped building is located at Palm Springs Tramway Road.

1960 Esso, A6 Leicestershire

This ESSO gas station has made it to the English Heritage list. Constructed in 1960 with the round canopy style, it is the last remaining in the UK. The style was originally developed by Elliot Noyle for Mobil, rapidly spread and became reminiscent for a distinct era. Its high roof design feature is still commonly used today.

1956 Frank Lloyd Wright station, Cloquet

This must-see gas-station is located in Cloquet, USA. Lindholm Service Station was designed in 1956 by American star architect F. L. Wright, known for works as the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Some changes were made over time. Originally, the pumps were installed in the ceiling and pulled down to refuel the cars. Wright is quoted as comparing refueling here to milking a cow.

1953 Prefabricated petrol station by Jean Prouvé

This station from 1953 was designed by the French autodidact industrial designer and architect Jean Prouvé. His functionalist design is a prefabricated station, which comes to embody the urgent need for large quantities of gas stations in shortest time. The simplistic structure looks like it could be built practically over night and still look impeccable.

1953 Esso Dudok, NL

Designed by W. M. Dudok, this ESSO gas station from 1953 is a true icon of 50s design. Dudok is considered one of the Netherlands' most influential modernist architects and developed the image of ESSO gas stations in the country. At the time, it became common practice, that oil companies contracted architects to develop a coherent concept for their network of stations, as we know it still today.

1937 Skovshoved gas station, Copenhagen

This gas station dates from 1937 and was designed by Arne Jacobsen, famous Danish architect and ahead of his time. His design philosophy is reflected in the minimalistic style of this building, consisting of a box-shaped shop and a simple round roof that covers the stationing area. The station has been well preserved and lives on in the functional gas stations of today.

1936 Auto Palace, Nijmegen

This modernist gas station "Auto Palace" in Nijmegen, Netherlands, dates from 1936. The canopy structure was designed by B. J. Meerman and J. van der Pijll. It is considered a prime example of the "New Objectivity" style and is protected as national patrimony. It is out of service since 1977, was renovated in 1993 and is used as an architect's office today.

1935 Tower Conoco Gas Station

This art deco gas station, located in Shamrock, Texas, is a point of worship for fans of historic and extravagant gas stations. The building was set up in 1935 at the, then called Route 66. The historic service station, retail shop and cafe have been restored recently and are now used as tourism office.

1938 Fiat Tagliero, Asmara, Eritrea

This is probably the most outstanding gas station in the world. Erected in 1938, in Asmara, Eritrea, by the Italian Giuseppe Pettazzi, this futuristic building was planned as petrol station from the beginning. It is a plane-shaped relic of Italian colonialism in Africa and a masterpiece of automotive architecture.

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