Gas stations are soon to become an urban artifact of the past in our current climate emergency. Taking advantage of their ubiquity throughout Australia, we propose to re-stereotype the “servo”, as a cleaning, productive member of the suburb.
Melbourne alone has 649 fuel stations, a quarter of which are contaminated by fossil fuels and hydrocarbons. Furthermore, lone households have become the predominant type within the suburb of Rowville.
A laundromat is installed in the service station to combat social disconnection; additionally, the gray water from the initial rinse cycles is retained and reused in a process of “soil washing” to decontaminate the site.
This proposal takes advantage of a dissolving icon – the service station – and subverts its inherent characteristics in service of the community. In doing so, it acknowledges the layers of narratives embedded not only within its silhouette, but also in place. From a simple anecdote, an everyday ritual becomes a communal contribution towards the regeneration of place, suburb and ultimately prospective neighborhoods on our suburban fringe. Ultimately, this is a proposition which hopes to achieve something greater than the sum of its parts.