Dear BP,

That’s a cool gas station you’ve built over on Robertson and Olympic.

I would be delighted to see more vibrant, plant-lined and clean structures here in Los Angeles, although I personally wouldn’t want to be overrun with metallic buildings. And I appreciated how clean it is. Pretty bathrooms, an overall restful (rather than neglected or unsafe) feeling about the place.

My absolute favorite bit is the drains. Let me re-phrase that: My absolute favorite bit is what you have done for the California coastline. Because you’ve inserted filters, there will be that much less sludgy gas station run-off washing out to the ocean. If I weren’t such an anarchist, I’d say that ought to be a law.

Incidentally, is there a way to make the green roof visible from the road? We had to climb the stairs of the neighboring office building to get a look. How about building your own stairs, and a fence, and letting us walk around up there?

Also, I know I’m joining a large and loud chorus when I ask, “Where’s the alternative-fuel pump?” I understand that this isn’t quite the time to stop selling gas, but I parked my car under your rain-barrel canopy to see the future infrastructure that’s going to supply a range of clean, renewable fuels. Imagine the buzz you’d create if passersby regularly saw the creme of this city’s alternative-fuel cars (in addition to hybrids) parked by your meta-pumps.

And finally, your website and the nice fellow at the station kept talking about consumer feedback, and this whole thing being a conversation. But the nice fellow didn’t seem to be taking note of any feedback, and the section of your website devoted to the Helios House provides no contact form. What’s up with that?

I really like the Helios House, but I am respectfully requesting that you do something crazy. Nuts. Outrageous. (That would be in addition to investing in a contact form and the accompanying communicators/tabulators.)

How about halving the footprint of that office building behind the station? Make it taller and narrower, and put a gardened play area in the remaining space. I realize you’ve already spent $6 million on the station, but you can consider it an additional real estate investment, a deeper marketing plunge, or even a bolder exploration into the future of green business.

How about a plant- and earth-paved pedestrian bridge over the Olympic-Robertson intersection? It could be the first non-billboard billboard.

BP, I do appreciate the energy, resources and heart you put into this project. It would be so great for this to truly be a seed—the beginning of a new way of doing business. I’ve heard the promise before, and I’ve so often been disappointed… but I still want to believe!

Insightful coverage of the Helios House can also be found at treehugger and the LA Times, and cool construction photos are here, at Curbed LA.


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