The Biofuel Oasis is a local, women/worker-owned cooperative founded in 2003 to bring sustainably harvested biodiesel to the Berkeley community. After a successful start they decided to move to a more prominent location that would provide not only ample fueling space, but extra room for the business to grow into the oasis that had long been the founders' vision.
The site had a long history of uses, having first housed a gas station in the 1920's, and more recently, a detailing shop. The challenge was to put a fresh face on this funky but charming site in an ecologically sustainable and socially responsible manner without breaking the bank.
The design consists of new fueling canopies with 14.5 ft truck clearance, built of salvaged wood on steel columns that rest on board-formed concrete bases. These support photovoltaic arrays that generate electricity for the site while shielding the pump stations from rain. The new site features planters that help minimize the concrete jungle heat island effect and create on-site storm water detention that drains through underlying soils.
The existing building, upgraded with clay plasters and salvaged wood, serves as a small retail and teaching space for budding urban farmers and biofuel users.