No. 469 . 07 April 2010 
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Green Gas Station?

by Philip Jodidio

The irony of a LEED-certified gas station includes the fact that U.S. gas stations each currently deliver, on average, about 850,000 gallons of fossil fuel per year, representing about 8,200 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per gas station annually — not to mention the wide range of environmental impacts along the overall petroleum production chain. This station is a beautiful structure — but how green can it be? Does a greenwashing project like this — however elegantly designed as a structure — deserve coverage in a professional architecture magazine? What about the designers of such a project? Author Philip Jodidio discusses the broader context below. Comment online. — Editor

Though its essential function is that of a gas station, Helios House in Los Angeles, California, was intended by client BP to be a "learning lab," to stimulate dialog, promote education, and foster discussion on the topic of environmental stewardship.

Built to maximize sustainability and energy efficiency, the 10,500-square-foot (975-square-meter) structure is located at the intersection of Robertson and Olympic Boulevards in the location of a former conventional gas station. Existing billboards and bus stops were maintained "to attract attention to the station's experimental and educational mission." The architects — Office dA, with architect of record Johnston Marklee — make reference to the rich history of gas station architecture in America, but with the twist here of calling attention to "green" issues precisely where automobiles are concerned.   >>>

This article is excerpted from Green Architecture Now! by Philip Jodidio, copyright © 2009, with permission of the publisher, Taschen.

 

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