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Forecourt of the future

The petrol filling station has changed little in format or basic design since the 1960s: a shop in a box, four square petrol pump islands and a flat canopy to shelter from the elements, offering a product so vastly inflated in price that the whole experience is now called a 'distress purchase'. Even the pumps which were once human in scale with internally illuminated glass orbs and had a certain charm are now non-descript branded boxes. With fuel margins dwindling globally, retailers have resorted to supplementing their income by inviting 'proper grocery retailers' onto their sites, BP and M&S one of the most successful recent partnerships demonstrates that it is the non-fuel experience and products that we are attracted to. The days of being 'Sure of Shell' are long gone, customers look for the cheapest fuel in the most convenient location a fact borne out by the success of the supermarket filling stations.

Our station of the future concept turns the current filling station format on its head and brings the shop, café hub to the front of the site maximising the opportunity for passing trade. In effect the roles are reversed. The fuel becomes the backcourt; out of site and the shop occupies the forecourt. The building is environmentally sustainable harvesting rainwater and sunlight, the interior spaces are flooded with daylight. The offer of a c-store, café, farmers market or click and collect services are all possibilities for the next generation of filling station whatever the fuel type may be.


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