Saturday, January 7, 2012

Von's Fueling Station at Rimrock Center

The first image is of a demolished Don Wexler designed fueling station; many still regard it as the town's best. I have written before about Palm Springs abundance of architect-designed fueling stations. The best-know of the bunch is the one designed by Frey & Chambers that now houses the Visitor Center on North Palm Canyon. Almost as well-known is the one that William Cody designed just down the road from the Visitor’s Center. Recently, a new fueling station has appeared in front of the Von’s Rimrock Center on East Palm Canyon. It was in-process for years, and its original design featured a red clay tile mansard roof form over the pump canopy, ostensibly designed to complement the existing Spanish-style strip mall. Other features included faux-pilasters on the corners clad with a thin stone veneer, a cap molding in plaster atop the convenience store element, and trellises on each side to make the ensemble a little cozier. The project was abandoned for a number of years but finally came back to life about two years ago. In going through the architectural review process, it was suggested that the out-of-town project architect take a look at some of the better designed fueling station around town for inspiration, and they were reminded that the town is increasingly well-known for its modernist architecture. Both the Frey & Chambers and the William Cody stations were suggested as models for how the new station might appear. In some ways, it looks like the advice was taken, although the trellises have survived intact. The new station in its way reflects the simplicity and elegance of the William Cody station, only with a much thicker canopy [second photo.] Through the magic of Photoshop, I have made a minor change to the image of the existing station to suggest how it might have appeared had it come from Cody's office [third photo.] The last image is of the Cody design. All in all, the new station is a worthy solution...although one could still quibble about the appropriateness of putting a fueling station on that site at all...


  1. My initial reaction to this new structure was more disappointment for what might have been. Thank you, Patrick, for asking me take a second look with some of your provided context. While I still find the applied signage horrible, I'm grateful we got what we got all things considered. Your retouched image certainly would have been preferred. Personally, I'm pleased to have another fueling station option as Valero is an enemy of the CA environmental per their massive funding of the most recent proposition to obliterate CA AB32 energy efficiency legislation.

  2. Amazing. I hadn't even really considered that architecture would really be considered in a cng fueling station but it makes sense now. Interesting the way things develop for good and bad...