It is well-known that Frank Lloyd Wright was an automobile enthusiast, both foreseeing the prominence that this form of personal mobility would occupy in American life and, indeed, laying much of the foundation of how architecture might be designed for and around the car. Less-known is the fact that in 1927 he designed a gas station for Buffalo, New York, which was never built—or never until very recently. Nearly 90 years after its design, the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum has constructed Wright's vision of where Americans might fill their tanks. As of today, Friday, June 27, visitors to the museum will be able to experience Wright's design first hand, a rather idealistic vision that imagines the gas station as a comfortable, enjoyable, even civilized destination. The two-story facility features an observation deck, copper roof, and gravity fed pumps. Buffalo Filling Station, as it is called, will remain on permanent view at the Pierce-Arrow, where it will join the museum's extensive collection of historic automobiles, bicycles, and transportation memorabilia. Wright did design one gas station that did get built—in Cloquet, Minnesota. That station proudly displays the sign, "The World's Only Frank Lloyd Wright Service Station."
Posts tagged with "Gas Stations":
Designed a year before his death in 1968, Mies van der Rohe’s Esso station on l’Île des Sœurs in Montreal has been vacant and shuttered since 2008. The station, intended to serve nearby apartment blocks also designed by Mies, was built during the early urbanization of the island and closed when another station opened closer to the island’s main thoroughfare. Having been declared a historic monument in 2009, the community eventually decided to restore the structure and convert it to an intergenerational community center. The renovation, designed by Éric Gauthier of Montreal-based Les Architectes FABG, maintains the structure’s layout and keeps original features intact, including the structure's brickwork and beams. A cantilevered steel roof bridges two glass pavilions, one originally housing a store and the other a rest area. In between, where gas pumps and an attendant’s booth once stood, intake/outtake vents for new geothermal energy wells mimic the original pumps while the booth in the center will house displays on Mies’ and the station’s history. Gauthier also maintained the original strips of fluorescent lighting that stretch across the underside of the roof from one pavilion to the other; the effect is striking, unifying the space as they run through the glass curtain walls.