Most innovative storefront/entrance application

United Oil #3 >> Giroux Glass Inc.
September 28, 2009

The United Oil #3 project redefines conventional gas station design. “The owner’s [United El Segundo, Gardena, Calif.] mission was to create an iconic project that would in its own incremental way contribute to the cultural richness of the city,” says Stephen Kanner, president of project architect Kanner Architects, Santa Monica, Calif.

The Los Angeles station features a modern design with ample glazing. The storefront comprises ¾-inch tempered glass, vertically butt joint glazed, that reaches 16 feet at its tallest point. Grand View Glass and Metal Inc., Ontario, Calif., supplied a custom all-glass door, and Stanley Access Technologies, Farmington, Conn., provided an all-glass automatic entrance door.

The most prominent feature of the station is the 25-foot tall glass tower, an impressive curved glass façade of 23-foot tall ¼-inch thick Linit channel glass from Bendheim Wall Systems, Passaic, N.J. The owner and architect chose channel glass for the façade for aesthetic and practical reasons, says Rick Lawler of contract glazier Giroux Glass Inc., Los Angeles. He worked as project manager for the United Oil job and is division manager of the company’s new San Bernardino, Calif., location.

The channels, at 9 inches wide, allow for a segmented radius. “Each piece is at a certain
angle on the radius, making it look like a smooth, wide transition,” Lawler says. “The channels are in excess of 20 feet tall, but [the façade] appears taller because it is made up of so many individual channels. They could have used a singular piece of bent glass, but it would have appeared squattier—it wouldn’t have had the same appearance of height.”

The channel glass features Bendheim’s Rough Cast finish, creating a frosted look that allows light transmission while maintaining privacy. At night, the building glows, Lawler says.