Thursday, May 07, 2009

Decorative Utilitarian Buildings

Excuses why I haven't updated this blog since November aside, I had a bit of an epiphany while driving through Traverse City this afternoon. Stephanie was driving, and we were approaching an old service station. I had to look twice, as I thought I was seeing things -- but I wasn't. It was an operational service station housed in a beautiful example of art deco architecture.

The first thing that caught my eye was the awesome, stylized type on the left side of the building.

The exterior looked to be in beautiful shape. So beautiful, in fact, that the gold detailing above the doorway was glistening in the sun.

This, of course, brings me back to the sad state of present-day architecture designed for buildings of utilitarian purposes, such as service stations. You aren't going to see a service station built this extravagantly -- ever again. Chances are these days, you won't see a new furniture store, car dealership, or even a bank designed so intricately. It's very telling, and we can all draw our own conclusions as to why, as a culture, we've turned into what we are today -- homogenous.

While we're on the subject of service stations, it's always important to mention these places.


Buffal0gal said...

How amazing that it's still a service station and not a cute little tourist trap or coffee house. Nice find.

farlane said...

I love this gas station - the gold tiles are really cool!

javier said...
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Anonymous said...

Great find. Unfortunately most chain stores, gas stations included, use a template for their architecture that meets minimum requirements of regulatory agencies while minimizing cost. Which is why every Rite-Aid looks the same.

I hate to play a europhile but it's pretty apparent the greater value that most western european countries place on architecture and decisn. One need only compare modular housing design between the US, where we have the cost-efficient double-wide template, and modular housing in europe.

Very nice blog!

Lakesound Rental said...

What a great looking building, I wish more gas/service stations had their own individual look

Ger said...

Great find, and great tribute to the owner for keeping the original facade and usage.