Good architecture for the fringes


Most of us now live in urban or semi urban areas. For decades the fringes of our cities have been sprawling out into industrial estates characterised by functional, often cheap and ‘one way’ architecture. The transportation of goods and the use of cars have been the key denominators in the development of these areas: accessibility and functionality define a transitory aesthetic. Brightly coloured and illuminated petrol stations are a key element.


[UKPRwire, Tue Feb 02 2010] Most of us now live in urban or semi urban areas. For decades the fringes of our cities have been sprawling out into industrial estates characterised by functional, often cheap and ‘one way’ architecture. The transportation of goods and the use of cars have been the key denominators in the development of these areas: accessibility and functionality define a transitory aesthetic. Brightly coloured and illuminated petrol stations are a key element.
In Europe oil consumption peaked in 2005. There is a strong push towards renewable energy and this will also affect petrol stations. They will have to develop into charging stations for vehicles powered by gas, electricity and fuel cells and become part of an energy supply system based on smart grids.

Since 1999 the Munich based practice Haack + Höpfner Architekten und Stadtplaner BDA have been working with Allguth, a regional company running petrol stations. The project started as a competition with the brief to find an innovative way of construction which allowed for business growth in the short as well as the long term. The design had to support the brand values and avoid the aesthetic of the ubiquitous industrial shed architecture on fringes of our cities.

The architects proposed a contruction system which is open for future developments and can be adapted to different building sites and local business demands. The system should be based on standards which allow for economic and material efficiencies as well as future growth. At the same time the design should have a positive effect on the visibility of the brand and the company.

Haack + Höpfner . Architekten und Stadtplaner BDA won the competition and their design integrates the use of natural light and natural ventilation, modular layouts, energy efficient building automation, standardised construction elements, change of use and re-use of the building as well as recycling and sorting of (so called waste) materials. Another key aspect was the integration of the buildings into the urban environment allowing for plants and green spaces.

The modularity of the system and the high standards of design allow for appreciation by the users, low maintenance costs, easy upgrading and longevity. The introduction of renewable energies will demand more flexible and adaptable quiet design solutions like this.


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