The Gas Station, or the Petrol Pump as known locally in Pakistan has had a singular function at its core – Fill up the cars with Petrol so they can move us around swiftly and efficiently.
This moving-around in vehicles was efficient in transporting us from point A to point B, but it was also extremely efficient in distancing us from where lies the essence of our being human. Our association with our land, our family and friends, the sound of the birds, the smell in the air, the landscape…. and love.
Mobility has mostly been about the individual - not communal from any angle. Barring the rail network in some parts of the world, third world countries such as Pakistan suffer from excessive pollution, worst air quality standards in the world, and roads jam packed with mostly unfit vehicles and low grade fuel.
Our position vis-à-vis this competition is to assume that electrics and hybrids will eventually take over and we are beginning to reverse the process by moving ourselves from a point of dispersion to convergence. We want to spend time with each other, eat fresh and healthy, and enjoy the environment and freedom to breath clean air.
The project here looks at a “Petrol Pump” that is in a dense neighborhood of 3 to 4 storied structures, and abuts a busy road on one side and a public park on the other. Yes, ironically it sits next to a public park.
The design attempts to use the Petrol Pump to become a conduit that lets the Public Park take over and grow into it and reach out to the other very grey, noisy and busy side of the Pump. The Pump is offering a healthy tumor to the urban fabric, as a message – a direction that we must take sooner than later. People will inhabit this extension of the park and will eat, drink and work in an “Auditorium” setting to look back at the rather telling story of the world they are trying to change so desperately.
The Pump’s roof uses solar panels to run what will be a public gathering space where food is grown through hydroponics and local means and fed to the public in its cafes and juice bars. There will be a space for movies, lectures and education – a co-working space of sorts to foster a better and healthier interaction.
The Petrol Pump’s infrastructure is used sensibly. Old tanks will be cleaned out for storing and treating water, Roof overhangs for solar power, and a wood/bamboo structural system added to hold hydroponic setups and let people sit in an “auditorium” style to enjoy their views.
This proposal tries to remain true to the context of this particular Pump and feel that such interventions – local in nature, can add to the urban and architectural quality of neighborhoods.