1998 - Spain

Repsol service stations

The 200 petrol stations erected around the whole country will change the landscape of roads and countryside and may one day be protected as the Osborne bull or the Tio Pepe bottles. Born as icons of modern architecture, we wonder what the petrol company Repsol will do next time it wants to change its image.
El Mundo

When the Spanish oil company Repsol commissioned a new service station system, the challenge was to update its roadside identity while delivering an innovative yet highly flexible solution capable of being easily constructed at 200 sites planned across Spain.

The result is a modular canopy system in the Repsol signature colours of red, white and orange. Clusters of these structures form a series of overlapping 'umbrellas' that shelter the station forecourt. The canopy head is an inverted pyramid, its crisp edges balanced by the less emphatic lines of the cladding. The umbrellas vary in number, height and in the degree of overlap between them, according to the specifics of each site. Alongside these canopies, the associated shop unit, car wash, petrol pumps and signage elements belong to a related family of pure, box-like forms. Together they provide maximum flexibility in planning and accommodate numerous variations in site configuration. All these elements are factory made and easily transported and installed on site, providing cost benefits while ensuring high quality standards and rapid delivery.

The canopies themselves are arranged in a predetermined sequence which ensures that a red one is always the tallest. This brightly coloured combination creates a strong three-dimensional image and clearly breaks the mould of the established service station forecourt. Even from the air Repsol's identity is announced unmistakably. On the road, the stations are clearly identifiable from a distance and vivid and inviting when approached.

  • Appointment 1996
  • Completion 1998
  • Client Repsol
  • Structural Engineer Arup
  • Quantity Surveyor Aecom
  • Environmental Engineer Roger Preston & Partners
  • Lighting Engineer Claude Engle
  • 1999 – City Planning, Architecture and Public Works Award, Madrid - First Prize