Master Konzeptionelles Entwerfen


November 21, 2015

WS 2014/2015 [e]sprit: Gas Stations

[e]sprit: Gas Stations
Winter 2014/2015

The gas station was the only true modern typology: with no history and no place. It was universal in that it addressed neither country nor countryside, but the technological being on the road. The gas station was the absolute architecture icon of the twentieth century. If its evolution reflected functional or infrastructural demands, it more importantly exhibited socio-cultural, economic, and political ideologies—from the fifties, when mobility used to mean freedom, to the nineties grocery hybrids. The gas station always stood for both models, the decorated shed and the duck: cover and (liquid) core, promotion and routine. It has been film set, ready-made, experiment, and corporate design.
What is happening to the gas station today and tomorrow? Are there programs, interpretations, or visions for the dinosaur? Is it a museum of the twentieth century?

The project investigates the gas station as a historical artifact in its layered social, political, and aesthetic meanings. It is set up to speculate on the future of the gas station, as a monument, a Wunderkammer, a church, a villa, etc.

Eras of research:
1) 1950–1960: Heroic Gas Station (Rimini vs. Beat Generation)
2) 1970–1980: Branded Gas Station (Oil crisis, economic turbulences)
3) 1990–2000: Convenient Gas Station (Hybrid typologies)
4) 2000–2014: [E]SPRIT Gas Station (Post-Oil, post-typologies)



presentation, february 2015.



by Hisham El-Hitami

The gas station, having forever depicted a means of acceleration, transforms into a place of deceleration and, yet further, into its superlative of petrification. The 21st century’s fossil is digital – the image’s petrifying qualities preserve the monument, while computer and internet store and distribute it. The gas station is removed and excavated from its original location to be projected holographically into its present position at night. Various staircases permit an unaccustomed examination of the familiar building type during nocturnal hours, whereas, by day an absurd space full of dead ends amazes and decelerates the visitor.







by Benjamin Böhringer and Hannah Müller

The circular structure that became the convenience gas station after its heroic era is a consequence of it seizing even mobility in its longing for the ultimate “offer“. The place once for pause is now the place of forward movement, the immobile becomes mobile—it is still architecture yet it moves within. Two levels emerge: a fast, introverted upper level offers a big offer while moving, and a slow, extroverted entrance level makes a connection and openness to the surroundings.

The gas station structures cultural movement and increasingly becomes the site of cultural exchange where, for example, in the morning the boulangerie from Paris and the Greek Ouzeri in the evening pass.







by Radoslava Guirguinova and Britta Weißinger

The gas station is not only a supporting element of automotive culture but has always transported a strong message concerning the zeitgeist of our society as well. In the multioptional society of our time we are confronted with the results of our ever-growing freedom – a vast quantity of constant decisions between sometimes seemingly identical alternatives. Society’s coping mechanism in this situation, the attempt to rationalize the process of decision making, is translated in this project into the architectural medium, creating a spatial labyrinth of decisions and possibilities. The strictness of the generated system of pathways leads to the situation, in which every step is connected to a compulsion to choose between two equivalent options leading to different results, making the absurdity of the principle tangible for the beholder.






The Exit
by Vanessa Falkenberg and Christina Steinke

The heroic gas station in Asperg was designed in the typical architectural style of the 1950`s and represents the prevailing spirit of the time – mobility signified freedom for an individual. However freedom means also to be not imprisoned.

The history of the city is closely connected with the Hohenasperg and its using as a prison.

For prisoners, there is only one possibility to live a free life – the escape out of prison. The gas station which is located at the bottom of the Hohenasperg paves the way to freedom and is the main component of the escape plan. To realise the flight in a secret and nondescript way, it was necessary to camouflage the unoccupied gas station with a new usage – an underground nightclub. Two different worlds clash in one building and generate spatial intersections. The gas station acts as the entrance to the underground scene and at the same time as the exit to freedom.








by Milena Erdle and Julia Zumkeller

The gas station as typology is inextricably linked with the technological change and automobility. Even if cars, needing gasoline, will slowly disappear, mobility won‘t stop. But change. So daily routine, in and around the gas station will no longer be the same. The whole concept of this typololgy might be obsolete.

Some types of buildings have a long history. As time passed the architectural design changed but never the main idea of the building itself. That is what makes the gas station extraordinary. It is kind of a modern typology and after about 100 years its glorious existence is continiously drawing to an end.

As a sign of our society, as characteristic in the cityscape, as sign for our daily routine and especially as sign for being on-the-road in principle the gas station should be kept in memory.

Starting from gas stations in Stuttgart which are threatened to disappear or already did, a series of 5 commemorations had been developped. Analyses of already existing categories of commemorations lead to a mergence of architectural as well as emotional meaning of the gas station and the commemoration.

Remains of the gas station, which will no longer be used as the pump or even special mesured pillars of old gas stations are the basis for every monument.












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