Typology Decay: Gas Stations
June 3, 2011
Orbit Gas Station, various locations around California. Photo Via.
Car travel, and by extension the gas station, articulate something about our collective belief in the future. Does the passing of peak oil, or their decline as fields for experimentation for architects, eliminate their relevance as cultural objects?
Thinking thoughts, but mostly looking at pictures, after the jump.
Le Corbusier’s designs for a car.
Everyone from F.T. Marinetti to Le Corb himself (“‘If houses were built industrially, mass-produced like chassis, an aesthetic would be formed with surprising precision.’”) were enraptured by the automobile. Marinetti famously described the experience of crashing his car with the following (abbreviated) lines:
“We drove on, crushing beneath our burning wheels, like shirt-collars under the iron, the watch dogs on the steps of the houses.
Death, tamed, went in front of me at each corner offering me his hand nicely, and sometimes lay on the ground with a noise of creaking jaws giving me velvet glances from the bottom of puddles.
I turned sharply back on my tracks with the mad intoxication of puppies biting their tails, and suddenly there were two cyclists disapproving of me and tottering in front of me like two persuasive but contradictory reasons. Their stupid swaying got in my way. What a bore! Pouah! I stopped short, and in disgust hurled myself — vlan! — head over heels in a ditch.
Oh, maternal ditch, half full of muddy water! A factory gutter!
As I raised my body, mud-spattered and smelly, I felt the red hot poker of joy deliciously pierce my heart.”
A lot of text to quote in a photo post, but worth it, right? Anyways, now that you’re primed to emote about the legacy of the car in a post-Oil future:
1936: Arne Jacobsen’s famed Texaco Station, outside of Copenhagen.
1965: Union 76 Gas Station in Beverly Hills. Image (c) Gin Wong and William L. Pereira.
2009: Viamala Raststätte Service Station, by Iseppi-Kurath in Grisons, Switzerland.