January 10, 2013

Solar Power at the Pump: Kevin Oreck Designs a Green Gas Station

Coaxed by a childhood friend to take on his first commercial project, residential architect Kevin Oreck achieved the improbable: a United Oil gas station in Cerritos, California, supplied by Chevron, that’s both good-looking and green. Opting to accentuate rather than conceal specified solar panels, the Kevin Oreck Architect principal sandwiched photovoltaic cells between two layers of glass in the over-pump steel canopy, which casts dappled light across the concrete forecourt while generating 75 percent of the station’s electricity

The material theme recurs in the adjacent convenience store, which is fronted by panels of frosted and laminated glass, up-lit and folded in an alternating pattern to resemble cascading water. Inside, the ceiling of the retail space slopes at the rear, evoking a cave hidden behind a waterfall. And though it took some convincing at the Chevron corporate level, signage is practically nonexistent, making design the station’s singular calling card.

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