What looks like a flying carpet anchored to the ground with pillars at the intersection of Crescent Drive and Little Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles is actually a functional gas station. It’s also one of the most iconic examples of Googie architecture in the world.
The dramatic upward-curved canopy decorated with red square tiles was originally designed in the 1960s by architect Gin Wong to be a part of the city’s airport, but when that plan was changed, it ended up as a Union 76 gas station. When the fluorescent lights that follow the curve are turned on, Jack Colker’s 76 station, as it is commonly known, goes from flying carpet to embellished spaceship.
It was completed in 1965, right around the time when the eye-catching Googie style was extremely popular in California. Inspired by the Space Age, fast cars, and jets, Googie style buildings contain steel, plastic, and neon, twisted into crazy shapes and designs. Several of these whimsical creations were demolished in the decades that followed but there are still handful of them scattered around the Golden State.
Visit California with Atlas Obscura Trips
Hip-Hop, Hippies, and Robots: Invention and Reinvention in San Francisco
We'll set out together, September 19-21, to explore unusual galleries, test our cocktail-making skills, and visit the city's best unofficial museum.