Petrol stations might be boring or even ugly places, but for the most part, you can’t avoid stopping by one on a long trip. But, there have been so many more incredible designs beyond the basic columns, roof and shop over their history.
The following 60+1 petrol 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
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 petrol 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.
Image: Boston Public Library
Geo. W. Wilcox, Inc., 100 Federal St., Greenfield, Massachusetts, ca. 1930–1945.
Image: Boston Public Library
Roarin’ Rohrer’s Streamline Moderne petrol station, McAlester, Oklahoma, ca. 1930–1945.
Image: Boston Public Library
An Art Deco Liberty petrololine service station, Southern California, 1931.
A new hacienda style Union Oil petrol station, Southern California, 1932.
petrololine Mosque: an Union Oil Service station with strong Islamic influence. North Alexandria Avenue & Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, 1932.
Moorish touch: Beacon Oil Company petrol Station, 107 Winn Street, Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
Image: Library of Congress
Lighthouse mixed with Mexican style. Union Oil station, Southern California, 1933
Shell petrol station in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, built in the late 1930s by the Quality Oil Company.
A beautifully restored Art Deco Conoco petrololine station in Shamrock, Texas. (Built in 1936.)
The Skovshoved Tankstation is a functionalist style petrol 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.
Image: sailko/Wikimedia Commons
A little Bauhaus gem: Shell self-service petrol station near Purkersdorf, Austria, c1940.
Image: Muzeum Antikvarium
An Art Deco Gilmore petrol station, Los Angeles, California, c1940.
Art Deco Union Oil station, c1940.
Streamline Moderne: Richfield petrol 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.
Image: Fondazione Favini
Another Streamline Moderne beauty: a Guul filling station, United States, c1950
Image: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
A YPF (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales) petrol 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
Image: Hans Pies/GVNL
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 petrol station? Turnbull’s self-service petrol station in Plymouth, Devon, 1963.
Image: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A forward leaning steel structure. Alamo petrol station, Serape Belt, East Los Angeles, 1964.
Image: Ellis R. Bosworth/AP
Pepetrolus petrol station. Designed by Elliot Noyes for Mobil, 1964.
Image: Detroit Public Library
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 petrol station in Beverly Hills, designed by William Pereira (Gin Wong Associates), 1965.
Another Googie gem: Orbit petrol station, Sacramento, 1960s. Space age design at its best!
Brutalist beauty: Milan Mihelič petrol station Petrol, Ljubljana, 1968.
The modernist flying saucer of Council Plaza, St. Louis, 1968. Architects: Schwarz & Van Hoefen. It was originally a Phillips 66 petrol station.
Image: Paul Sableman
Fueling station with reinforced concrete roof, Baghdad, Iraq (built c1970).
Wing shaped concrete roof on a petrol 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 petrol 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 petrol 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 petrol 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 petrol station, Hommelstø, Velfjord, Norway, 2008.
Litro Premium petrol Station by Eight Inc. for Rompetrol, Bucharest, Romania, 2009.
Image: Eight Inc.
United Oil petrololine Station, Los Angeles, California. Designed by Kanner Architects, 2009.
Image: United Pacific
Gazoline Petrol Station, Cuneo, Italy, by architects Duilio Damilano and Alberto Pascale, 2011.
Image: Duilio Damilano/Archilovers
petrol Station designed by Adam Jirkal & Jerry Koza (Atelier SAD), Slovakia, Matúškovo, 2011.
Image: Atelier SAD
Fuel Station + McDonald’s, Batumi, Georgia, by Giorgi Khmaladze Architects, 2012-13.
Image: Giorgi Khmaladze
Esposende petrol Station by Caldeira Figueiredo Arquitectos, Esposende, Portugal, 2013.
Image: Caldeira Figueiredo
And the future is here: Tesla-Supercharger-station, Aosta, Italy.
Image: id metalco