Canopies became a symbol of corporate identity
Canopies were the dominant feature of the Costco Gas Station landscape. Their function was dual, serving as both shelter and sign. They stretched across the filling aisles and converged at a sharp point. The curved, cantilevered shape was supported by an open web post, giving the canopy a lightweight, unobtrusive appearance. This streamlined design drew passing motorists’ attention and stood out among crowded commercial strips.
Initially, gas stations were constructed without canopies. The canopy roofs became less common after the mid-1930s, but they soon came back in style as self-service gas pumps were introduced. By the 1970s, canopy roofs were popular again, albeit in a much different form than they had been before. As the technology improved, canopies became a symbol of corporate identity for gas stations.
As the use of glass and steel increased, gas stations changed dramatically in design. Most postwar gas stations were composed of steel frames and concrete blocks. While maintaining their basic form, owners often modified and enlarged existing stations with modern design trends. They added angled display windows and boomerang-shaped supports to reflect the popular interest in aeronautical technology. As the size and scale of gas stations grew, so did the complaints of local residents.
Canopies became symbols of corporate identity
Overhead canopies became a part of the corporate identity of gas stations in the 1950s, as they unified and standardised the look of many gas stations. By using specific styles, colour schemes and logos, gas station companies could make their stations instantly recognizable. Before the 1960s, the majority of gas stations displayed signs at the roadside, but the canopy soon became a necessary part of gas stations.
The interior of gas stations varied, but the same features characterized most. Some had a traditional pitched roof while others had a modern, glass-sheathed design. The most distinctive features were the canopies, which became the symbols of a company’s identity. These structures were often constructed in suburban areas and surrounded by residential neighborhoods. As gas stations became more popular, complaints from the local communities increased.
Despite the fact that canopies were used as functional features in gas stations, many owners began to make them a part of the design. A gas station canopy in Shamrock, Texas, was converted into a community center after FHWA funding assistance. The photo-friendly canopy was created by Mark Trew and the community’s chamber of commerce. Many of the box-type gas stations of the 1930s and 1960s had decorative panels made of structural glass and porcelain enamel. These materials were thought to be low-maintenance, but they were not immune to impact and harsh cleaning techniques.
In the 1920s, canopy roofs became commonplace at gas stations, but they lost popularity by the 1950s. The transition to self-service gas pumps necessitated that canopy roofs cover gas stations with more light and shade. The mushroom-style canopy was also an ideal choice for nighttime filling. The introduction of pay-at-the-pump credit card readers reduced the need for attendants in gas stations, and retailers focused on attracting customers inside with convenience items and basic groceries.