Architecture

How to Gussy Up a Gas Meter

July 23, 2012 | by Hidden City Staff

 

What to do with gas meters, those ugly metal pimples that have popped up on the face of new row house construction? (For Ryan Briggs’ analysis of impending regulatory change making them mandatory, click HERE.) Unfortunately, gas meters are a detail that receives precious little thought, but some architects and developers do try to make them more presentable. And they should. Most Philadelphia row houses rely on a Quaker simplicity for their good looks–a creamy marble stoop, red brick, white shutters. Gas meters make facades look busy. Add a garage facing the street and you’ve got a real ugly duckling, regardless of the rest of the building’s merits. Gas meters on facades are a relatively new phenomenon, however, so hopefully the meters will be better integrated down the road. In the meantime, here’s a survey of the current state of the art.

Most new row houses settle for the bare minimum, a bollard or two in front of the gas meter.

You can hide it in a box, either plain…

Or stylish…

Or better yet, make the box match the building and put flowers on top of it…

Hiding it behind a stand of bamboo is a surprisingly effective option…

That makes sticking a big planter in front of it seem clumsy by comparison…

Tucking it under the stairs is effective…

Or, rarest of all, integrating it into the design of the facade, here in the form of storage closets…

 

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About the Author

Hidden City Staff This article was produced in collaboration with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and written by Patrick Glennon. Located at 1300 Locust Street and open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays, HSP is one of the nation’s largest archives of historical documents, with over 21 million manuscripts, books, and graphic images encompassing centuries of US history. Find upcoming public programs, start your own research project, and learn more about HSP.

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