Most parking facilities are eyesores, designed with function in mind without paying heed to context or aesthetics. But in some cases, parking garages can be so innovative, high-tech, bright and – yes – even beautiful, that they’re notable works of architecture in and of themselves.
Singapore is the country with the highest standard of living in the world. At the same time it is also the country with the smallest land. In other words, there are no countries better suited than Singapore to install huge vending machines that spew super cars. Yes, that’s right. It is a car vending machine. Autobahn Motors, who used to sell used cars in ordinary showrooms, has recently built a 15-story car vending machine building. It looks like a miniature car display shelf hidden in a child’s toy box.
In this vending machine building, 60 super cars and luxury cars such as Ferrari, Porsche and Bentley are stored.The way to buy a car is unique. The purchaser wants to visit Autobahn Motors and complete the purchase procedure with a tablet device dedicated application. If payment is confirmed, the car reaches you in 2 minutes. Covered.Asia experienced the demonstration before the opening yesterday. In response to Reuters’ interview, General Manager of Autobahn Motors, Gary Hong said, “We had to store a lot of automobiles, and at the same time we had to impress that we have original and superior imagination.” I explained it.
2 CARVANA / USA
The way to store the car is the parking tower which is often used in big cities. Actually, there is a startup called Carvana pursuing a concept very similar in the United States (the company succeeded in listing recently).
３Detroit’s Michigan Theater/USA
Built in 1926 alongside the connected 13-story Michigan Building office tower, the 4,000-seat Michigan Theater was once the jewel of Detroit, described as the world’s finest theater. But by the mid-1960s, it closed, partially due to a lack of parking – ironic, given its ultimate usage. The theater has continued to decay, but its beautiful shell remains intact as a three-level, 160-space parking deck.
４72DP/Sydney, Australia An extensive, colorful geometric mural decorates an underground car park in Sydney, Australia by architects Marsh Cashman Koolloos (MCK.) “The objective of the project was to breathe new life into the space which, having been rendered in concrete with little inlet of natural light, felt quite dark and heavy. Working closely with the owners, who possess a keen design sensibility, it was decided that the mural would cover all surfaces in a blanket of bright color. There was also a request that the larger wall surfaces be left blank with an eye towards potentially introducing additional, individually commissioned works at a future date. nevertheless it was vital that the installation feel and function as a complete work in its own right.”
5 Parkhaus Engelenschanze, Stuttgart, Germany This light-filled parking garage totally gets rid of that creepy enclosed feeling that many of these structures can foster. The Parkhaus Engelenschanze features an all-glass exterior, and its inner courtyard even has a waterfall, a creek and curtains made of reclaimed glass.
6 The VW Tower, Wolfsburg, Germany Two towering silos are used to store vehicles at Volkswagen’s production facility and Autostadt visitor attraction in Germany. Reaching 48 meters (157 feet) into the air, the towers contain up to eight hundred cars lifted into position by rotating mechanical arms.
7 Ballet Valet, Miami You might not expect a parking garage to be among a city’s most impressive architecture, but in Miami’s case, the Ballet Valet really does stand out. Completed in 1996 by Arquitectona, the garage in Miami’s Art Deco district is covered in grid-patterned fiberglass that serves as a terrace for climbing greenery. The garage sparked a trend in the city for well-designed parking facilities.
8 Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Green-Roof Garage Another parking structure disguised with greenery is that of SAIT, the Southern Albert Institute of Technology. It’s nestled into a hillside, and covered in a perforated metal screen with a cloud-inspired design that provides natural ventilation. The garage is actually located beneath the college’s playing field.
9 Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Garage The first LEED-certified parking garage in the United States is a colorful glass structure powered with solar panels and made using recycled and low-impact materials. Fourteen of the facility’s 900 parking spots are devoted to electric vehicles, with public electrical outlets, and the garage offers free bike storage.
10 Smart Car Vending Machine, Germany This Smart Car tower may not be quite as impressive as the futuristic VW Tower, but it’s still pretty cool to see the little cars stacked in a glass enclosure at a Smart Car retailer in Germany.
11 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Despite being made almost entirely of concrete, Miami’s 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage by Herzog de Meuron has a light and airy appearance. Its design was influenced by architect Jacques Herzog’s interpretation of Miami Beach: “all muscle without cloth.” The garage features some ceilings that are triple the typical parking height so it can accommodate special events like parties, photo shoots, fashion shows and concerts, against the backdrop of the Art Deco district of downtown Miami.
12 18 Kowloon East, Hong Kong At the base of a massive Hong Kong tower is a car park with extensive plantings that disguise the harsh concrete contours of the garage, and help improve the air quality inside.
13 Car Park in Herdern, Switzerland A symbol of the tense relationship between motor vehicles and nature, this garage built into a hillside in Switzerland features five concrete cubes that put the cars on display, let natural light pour into the cave-like facility and offer a view of the countryside.
14 Parking Garage of the Leipzig Zoo A light bamboo shade softens the garage of the Leipzig zoo in Germany, and acts as a reference to the world of exotic animals in the zoo. The bamboo also functions as a railing.
15 Charles Street Car Park “The Charles Street car park acts as a large lantern at an urban scale,” write Allies and Morrison Architects of this facility in Sheffield, England. “The abstract and animated surface of its facade is composed of identical angled panels that are rotated randomly in four orientations. Each panel is made up of a single folded sheet of aluminum, painted green on the inside. Diurnal patterns of light and shade bring this functional building to life both internally and externally.
16 Greenway Self Park, Chicago The dozen wind turbines attached to the external structure of the Greenway Self Park in Chicago are its most stunning feature, put on prominent display in one corner. The 11-story, energy-efficient parking garage also features plug-in stations for electric cars, a green roof and a cistern rain water collection system.It may not be as jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring as Detroit’s decaying Michigan Theater parking garage, nor quite as multifunctional as the stunning Herzog de Meuron structure at 1111 Lincoln Road in Miami – but this new structure in Belgium is definitely one for the books. The undulating wooden slate facade of this staff parking garage for the Cliniques Universities Saint-Luc hospital in Brussels is beautifully fluid, with a clever design that disguises most of its bulk underground while remaining architecturally interesting.
17 Modulo Architects and De Jong Gortemaker Algra Architects were charged with creating a functional industrial structure capable of holding 985 cars that would also serve as a welcoming introduction to the hospital itself, incorporating daylight, natural materials and a striking look. Taking inspiration from natural canyons, they created a stepped design that brings sunlight down into the first two subterranean levels. The two above-ground parking decks “bridge the terrain gradient” between street level and the green roof, which is designed to be both a functional outdoor space and something pleasant to look at from the higher floors of the adjacent hospital. The parking garage effectively raises this green space above street level for a sense of privacy, avoids obscuring views of the surrounding architecture and manages to be pretty cool to look at, itself. “We challenged ourselves to also make the underground decks clear and pleasant,” the architects say. “By introducing a sinuous ‘canyon’ encompassing the garage that allows light and air to reach even the lowest deck. Natural light and this (eventually green) canyon-wall contribute to orientation and ensure a positive experience for the user. The facades, made of meandering hardwood slats (FSC), naturally relate to the character of the canyon.
18 An appealing building, nicely embedded with added value for the user is the result.”Who would have thought that parking garages could be so beautiful? There are the stunning ruins of Detroit’s Michigan Theater – resplendent in its grand proportions and tragic decay – and then there are modern works of art like 1111 Lincoln Road by Swiss architects Herzog de Meuron. (images via: dezeen)Appearing incredibly light despite its primarily concrete construction, the design of the garage was influenced by Jacques Herzog’s interpretation of Miami Beach: “all muscle without cloth.” Bright and open, the structure is full of sculptural details with some ceilings triple the typical parking height in order to accommodate special events like parties, photo or film shoots, fashion shows and concerts – all against the backdrop of the Art Deco district of downtown Miami. It even serves as a dramatic urban setting for weddings, wine tastings and yoga classes. (images via: nytimes, dezeen)The garage and the adjacent former Suntrust bank building make up a new mixed-use facility that includes residences, 300 parking spaces, over a dozen shops and four restaurants including one on the roof. The closed 1970s Suntrust building contrasts with the layered negative space of the garage. (images via: arcspace, 1111lincolnroad.com)Some critics may say that the architectural attention given to this parking garage is further glorification of the polluting automobile, which should have a diminishing place in modern cities. Perhaps, to an extent, that’s true. But not only does 1111 Lincoln Road transcend exclusive use as a car park, doubling as an event space and drawing as many gawkers as shoppers, it is not – like so many other parking garages – disposable architecture. 1111 Lincoln Road is valuable enough in itself to someday warrant preservation and rebirth into something new – when that fabled day of carless living finally arrives.