Texaco Petrol Station

A functionalist masterpiece

Dissing+Weitling, Arne Jacobsen, Petrol Station, front, VisitCopenhagen

The Copenhagen suburb of Gentofte is the site of one of Arne Jacobsen's functionalist masterpieces, the Texaco Service Station. Small in size, and large in fame.

  • Gentofte, Denmark
    Cultural Heritage
    2002 - 2003
  • Client
    Texaco
    Award
    Europa Nostra Award, 2015
    Architect
    Arne Jacobsen
  • The Texaco Service Station remained largely unchanged – and uncared-for – until 2003, when Dissing+Weitling renovated this architectural gem.

    Iconic roof

    The service station is part of Arne Jacobsen's plan for the development of the Bellevue area, north of Copenhagen. It was built in reinforced concrete and with ceramic tiles. The iconic ellipse-shaped cover protrudes from the building's roof (also nicknamed 'the Concrete Tongue' or 'the Mushroom'), supported by a pillar in the middle. The contour of the roof is reprised later in Arne Jacobsen's design of the classic Ant™ chair from 1952.

    Free form

    Arne Jacobsen's 'take' on the Texaco Group's standard American model for gas and service stations is a light and elegant architecture that is both experimental and attracts the attention of passers-by.

    The distinctive roof construction – in addition to providing shelter – acts like a gigantic lamp, reflecting on its glossy underside some of the natural light that falls on the pillar. The building is an example of the use of ’free form’ and reflects Arne Jacobsen's openness to international colleagues such as Gunnar Asplund, Alvar Alto, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier.

    The building itself is only approximately 9 x 15 metres in floor plan and consists of a car wash, office, storage room, boiler room and two toilets. The ellipse is illuminated from below in the evening by specially designed lamps.

    Renovation by Dissing+Weitling

    Dissing+Weitling's renovation in 2002-2003 took place in connection with Arne Jacobsen's 100th anniversary. The renovation included extensive replacement of the tiles as well as treatment of the underside and the stanchion of the roof. In addition, the elliptical roof was re-cast by contractor Pihl & Søn A/S. Before the renovation, the National Museum conducted a colour archaeological study, which showed that, as Arne Jacobsen wished, the original surface of the 'concrete tongue' was very glossy.

    The service station never became the standard model for Texaco's service stations, as was otherwise intended. Therefore, the building is one of a kind, and today it is a listed building.