Contest #795: The Fiat Tagliero Building in Asmara, Eritrea

Located in the center of Asmara, Eritrea’s capital city, is the Fiat Tagliero Service Station. Designed by famed Italian architect Giuseppe Pettazzi, this Futurist-style gas station was completed in 1938.

Asmara is the largest city in Eritrea and was incorporated as its capital by the Italians during their colonial rule of the African country. Pettazzi built many Art Deco buildings in Eritrea during this time, but this service station— modeled on airplane design as evidenced by its “wings”— is his most famous.

The Fiat Tagliero Service Station is a petrol station that includes a central tower with office space, a cashier’s desk, and a shop. The building’s flighty design is widely understood as a problematic nod to Italy’s Fascist history; it was built just months after the country’s airplanes dispensed thousands of sulfur mustard shells over Eritrea, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians.

During construction, authorities attempted to convince the architect that the building’s wings required pillars, as a safety concern. Pettazzi refused to comply and went so far as to threaten the service station’s contractor and an unassuming construction worker with a handgun in a dramatic display of conviction standing atop his creation. Clearly, he felt the supports were not necessary, and he won the argument.

Pettazzi’s act is unsurprising, as architects who were too avant-garde for Mussolini’s Fascist Italy (and Europe in general) were sent to Asmara to design wildly imaginative buildings as a way to illustrate Italy’s idea of a modern city in their newly-taken territory. Pettazzi fit the bill.

A remarkable example of Italian modernist architecture, the Fiat Tagliero Service Station remains structurally sound to this day and has survived numerous conflicts and war. It was restored in 2003 and is unable to be altered by law. Thanks in part to this striking service station, Asmara was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2017.

Found before the hint:

  • Lighthouse
  • Graham Hedley
  • Martin de Bock
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Eloy Cano
  • Phil Ower

After the hint:

  • hhgygy
  • Bas van Limpt
  • Garfield
  • Andreas Meister

Contest #794: Van Gogh’s Sunflower painting on the world’s largest easel on Goodland, Kansas, US

Kansas is known as the Sunflower State so it makes sense that a painting of Van Gogh’s “Three Sunflowers in a Vase” is found in the community. But what’s unique is that the easel it’s on is the world’s largest!

This is one of a series of three – found in other sunflower producing areas in the world: Altona, Manitoba in Canada and Emerald, Australia. The exhibit is from Canadian artist Cameron Cross who wanted to put up seven, one for each of Van Gogh’s seven sunflower paintings.

Found before the hint:

  • hhgygy
  • Graham Hedley
  • Lighthouse
  • Phil Ower
  • Martin de Bock
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Garfield
  • Andreas Meister
  • Zorro the Fox
  • Jeather
  • Eloy Cano
  • Glenmorren

And after the hint:

  • Andy McConnell
  • Bas van Limpt

Contest #793 – Dragon Teeth, Remnants of the Siegfried Line, Schmithof, Aaachen, Germany

Westwall03.jpg

Designed to both bog down tanks, and channel them into pre-defined “kill zones”, these fortifications were part of the “Westwall” or “Siegfried Line” defensive infrastructure of World War 2 Germany. While formidable looking, Dragon Teeth were pretty easily overcome by bulldozers covering them with dirt, allowing the tanks to roll right over them. General George Patton is famously said to have said about the entire Siegfried line “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity.”

Those who bulldozed over obstacles and found the spot before the hint:

  • Graham Hedley
  • Garfield
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Eloy Cano
  • Lighthouse
  • Martin de Bock
  • Andreas Meister
  • hhgygy
  • Phil Ower

And after the hint:

  • Bas van Limpt