Top Ten Car Parks
Car parks are a strong part of our daily lives.
They are so countless nowadays that people have long stopped caring for their appearance.
With more and more architectural and landscape designed car parks being created they have become beautiful aesthetic and mesmerizingly functional spaces that enhance innovation on something that had become to incredibly monotonous.
The newer parking lots expertly show how these designers broke the stereotypical mould and displayed their attention to human needs and appealing detail.
These ten car parks are as individual as the designers themselves and show how endless the power of imagination is.
10. Marina City Towers – Chicago, Illinois
Marina City Towers are a residential and commercial use building in Chicago, Illinois. The lower levels of the 65 storey building contain the spiral parking garage which hold 896 spaces in each tower. This beehive parking garage overlooks Chicago and a thin railing is all that stands as a barrier between you and the outside world.
9. Parc des Celestins – Lyon, France
When I first came across this car park I was reminded of the underground catacombs in Rome. This optical illusion has a large mirror at the base that slowly rotates reflecting the light shafts from the street level across the seven storeys. On the ground level there is a periscope in which passer-bys can peer into the beehive parking space. Architecture is all around us but we rarely get a chance to look down onto masterpieces as they are usually looking over us.
8. Michigan Theater Parking Garage – Detroit, Michigan
The Michigan Theater was once the epicenter of entertainment in Detroit, the 4,000 seat theater was built in 1926. Today it stands as a shell, victim to urban decay, its beautiful vaulted ceiling stands in homage to the once statuesque theater The ruins are now a roof over a fascinating and demure three level, 160 space car park in the center of Detroit.
7. Eureka Carpark – Melbourne, Australia
This vibrant parking lot surely catches your eye. The man behind the design Axel Peemoeller devised a ‘way-finding-system’ where the strong contrasting colors, show you the way around this car labyrinth. The words, up and out, appear in front of your eyes, almost 3D, created by long lines. This playful car park adds interest to the usual grey concrete, spiraling parking lots.
6. Parkhaus Engelenschanze
The stereotypical parking garages are ill-lit, fume scented places but Parkhaus Engelenschanze changed this perception by creating a stunning architectural piece, illuminated by light. This elegant and innovative structure is situated in Münster. There are parking spaces for 485 cars within six levels. The skeleton which is the ramp system is ingenious as the ramps intertwine, differentiating up and down levels. This parking garage is apt for the country that brought us the fast paced and modern Autobahn.
5. Mountain Dwellings – Copenhagen, Denmark
Mountain Dwellings is an award winning building with a terraced, sloping roof holding the car park and apartments. The parking garage contains 480 spaces within its confines. The color scheme within the building start with green as a representation of the earth and the spectrum grows from yellow, orange, pink, purple to bright blue to represent the sky. The building maximizes sunlight with a sloping podium and outlooks of the space. It is a modern appeal on an old fashioned parking garage.
4. 1111 Lincoln Road – Miami, Florida
One of the world’s most beautiful parking garages is situated in Miami and only completed in 2010. The group, Herzog & de Meuron, created various sized levels, varied by height and connected by angular pillars. It was created to mirror a pedestrian promenade and combines a 600 space car park with office and retail. Each level is illuminated by glass walls and allows beautiful views of Miami.
3. Hageveld Estate – Heemstede, Netherlands
This car park is James Bond worthy. From the side it appears to be a stagnant lake with beautiful light features throughout. From the front is an underground car park where the car emerges from the water’s surface as if rising from the lake. It is a new spin on an old tradition as a water feature always stood outside manor estates but this makes the feature functional. This well planned ornamental pond contains two way light shafts, allowing light into the lower decks, illuminating the secretive car park. This parking lot is a perfect harmony of architecture, art and landscape architecture.
2. Autostadt Car Towers – Wolfsburg, Germany
In this car park, the valet is a giant robotic arm which lifts and places the cars within the twenty storey silo. This is a parking lot for the storage of new Volkswagen automobiles, where you can collect your new vehicle with zero mileage. The cars are lifted at the speed of 1.5m per second inside these glass storage towers. You can visit the Autostadt Towers and be ushered by the robotic limbs, best not to look down though!
1. Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Garage – Santa Monica, California
This building is a strong architectural statement, with its eye catching aesthetics as it blends into the city-scape, concealing its automobile inhabitants. This building is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified parking garage in the United States. This parking garage has 900 spaces throughout seven and a half storeys. The whole building is incredibly efficient and environmentally friendly with many measures insuring decreased use of artificial heating and storm-water treatment facilities. This building is the start of a wave of energy efficient buildings and Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners lead the way in ecologically and aesthetically designed parking garages.
If anything has been proven by this top ten, it is that car parks are no longer boring, monotonous places. Art, architecture and innovation have made car parks contributors to the local landscape character and prime examples of human brilliance and ingenuity. Car parks shouldn’t just be structures and holes in the ground to dump our vehicles, they should provide positive passive experiences, that help shape the overall urban environment and our
perception of it.
Article written by Lisa Tierney
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