Fiat Tagliero Building

Fiat Tagliero Building

The Fiat Tagliero Building in Asmara, capital city of Eritrea, is a Futurist Style service station completed in 1938 and designed by the Italian architect Giuseppe Pettazzi.

From the beginning conceived as a simple petrol station, Pettazzi designed a building that resembles an aeroplane. It consists of a central tower which incorporates the office space and cashiers desk and shop. The building consists of a central tower with a pair of 15m cantilevered wings. The wings are built in re-enforced concrete and are structurally unsupported. Because of law in Italy (and therefore Eritrea — an Italian colony) during the 1930s, the wings legally had to be supported, so on the technical drawings of the building there are wooden pillars which prop up the wings. The day before its inauguration, workers who completed the construction refused to remove the supports used during construction fearing the wings would collapse. Pettazzi settled the argument by climbing to the end of one of the wings and, holding a revolver to the main builder's head, threatened to kill him if they did not remove the supports. In the end the supports were removed and the wings held, just as they do today.

The building is still structurally sound after 70 years. Luckily, it has not been damaged during the numerous conflicts that have affected the Horn of Africa over the past century, and so it stands today. The building was restored in 2003. It is Category I listed in Eritrea. This means that not any part of the building may be adjusted in any way.

The building is currently owned by the Royal Dutch Shell oil company.


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