Frank Lloyd Wright Station to Be Built

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Frank Lloyd Wright Station to Be Built

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A gas station that architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed 74 years ago -- which never was built because it was a fire hazard -- finally might be constructed.
The station planned for downtown Buffalo would be more tourist attraction than service station. The fire marshal still won't allow it to sell gasoline because Wright put the tanks overhead, the Associated Press reported.

"Of course, if the tanks leaked, thousands of gallons of gas would have caused a river of fire to run down Michigan Avenue," said James Sandoro, an automobile collector who opened the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce Arrow Museum a year ago.

Sandoro had the idea to resurrect the blueprint and recently secured rights to the structure from Taliesin Architects, legal administrators of the Wright legacy. Project supporters hope to receive about $1 million in donations and grants to carry out the plan, he said. A Buffalo-area auto parts dealer, Hutchins, pledged $10,000 to get things started.

Wright is best known for his designs for houses and offices, but he knew early on that gas stations would have a place of prominence in the landscape. "Watch the little gas station," he said in 1930. "Wherever service stations are located naturally, these so often ugly and seemingly insignificant features will survive and expand."

The never-built gas station features low, horizontal lines and an open design. The project's supporters say it will fit in well with the city's move toward cultural tourism. The Buffalo area has five Wright houses and plans for a Wright-designed boat house are in the works.