Filling Station(s) Competition

Submission: May 17, 2015
Registration: May 10, 2015
Language: English
Location: Colombia & elsewhere
Prizes1st prize: £1,200, 2nd prize: £600, 3rd prize: £200
Type: Open


This is a competition about rethinking the ubiquitous filling station. As the automobile became a highly celebrated and desired part of western society during the first half of the 20th century, the filling station followed closely behind as the architectural counterpart of this new phenomenon that was changing the world.

An air of pride surrounded driving and refueling your car, and filling stations were designed as monument of a future that had already arrived.

However, as car ownership exploded around the world, the novelty started to wear off, and filling stations were soon regarded as a source of income rather than the celebration of a bright future. The fall from grace was further solidified when it became clear just how much of a negative impact the car has on the environment. What unifies typical filling stations of today is uninspiring appearances built at low upfront costs and surrounded by an air of neglect. Consequently most of them has a negative impact on their surroundings.

Still, as long as people travel the roads, filling stations will be needed to provide people as well as vehicles with fuel and assistance.

Is there an ideal contemporary filling station, and can it be designed to last both functionally and aesthetically?

The goal of the competition is to generate a universal filling station design that is easily recognized regardless of its location, but still offers a more sensible approach to visibility than the general filling station of today does.

The first criterion is providing a design approach that can be applied to stations throughout the world – albeit with a tolerance that allows for modifications depending on factors like climate, economy and other local requisites. The balance between universal uniformity and local variation is left to the discretion of the participant.

The second criterion relates to the typology: concepts should address different types of fuel (gasoline, electricity, hydrogen etc.) and their status around the world, as well as potential additional services & facilities – and whether these are to be applied universally, or vary from location to location.

In order to show the versatility of the design, each proposal should be presented in two different locations – one being along the Colombian country road provided in the competition package, the other is left to the discretion of each participant. This second site can be located in any country of choice, in either a rural or an urban setting.

Looking beyond the design aspect, participants are welcome to incorporate views on the typology’s inherent relationship with the car and its general advantages and disadvantages.

Consider the typology from the perspective of pedestrians/passer-bys as well as that from drivers.

Although this competition is not about designing a filling station for a future space age, some thought should be given to how the typology can adapt to changes in the evolution of vehicular transport.

Please note that this is an ideas-based competition – there is no intention of building any of the winning projects.