Seven Surprisingly Beautiful Parking Garages
When asked to think of breathtakingly beautiful works of architectural achievement, most people would not think of a parking garage as the first thing that comes to mind. Normally, parking garages are towering monoliths of concrete and metal, with function and practicality taking all precedence over form and elegance. It may come as a surprise, then, that certain companies, architects and neighborhoods around the world are embracing the parking garage as a work of art. This list presents seven of the most beautiful parking garages in the world.
1. Autostadt Car Towers, Wolfsburg, Germany
The Autostadt is part of Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg production plant and is a museum dedicated to the automobile and its production. It has two massive, glass-lined cylinders that serve as car storage units for the Wolfsburg plant. These towers are fully automated. Built between 1998 and 2000, the two towers can hold 400 vehicles each.
A conveyor belt system carries the vehicles from the factory to the towers.
They are then picked up by electronic lifts, and placed in their own individual stall, where they will wait 24 hours before being delivered to a customer. Due to this advanced system, cars stored in the Autostadt are delivered to customers without ever being driven and thus have an odometer reading of zero.
The towers are fully open to visitors; guests can take a special panoramic glass elevator up the lift system itself to experience the life of a brand new Volkswagen. A large observation deck provides scenic views of the factory, town, and surrounding countryside.
2. 1111 Lincoln Road Parking Space, Miami, FL USA
The multi-use space at 1111 Lincoln Road is redefining the meaning of the word parking lot. Commissioned for real estate developer Robert Wennett, the structure was designed by internationally renowned Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron. It opened to the public in 2010.
The structure is completely open air, with floors of varying heights supported by buttresses and cantilevers without exterior walls. The garage portion can fit over 300 vehicles, but the building also includes winding staircases, a large retail space at the center, event hosting facilities, and an 18,000 square foot penthouse on the top level, owned by Wennett himself.
The building has become a tourist attraction thanks to its unique design and has been featured in publications such as the New York Times and Vanity Fair.
3. Car Park One, Oklahoma City, OK, USA
Designed by Elliot and Associates to maximize natural light inside of the garage, this structure opened to employees at Chesapeake Energy in 2010.
The primary focus throughout the development of the structure was on functionality, safety, and compatibility with the existing campus while still maintaining a beautiful contemporary architectural style.
This car park fits 791 vehicles within its thin, stainless steel mesh walls. During the day, sunlight suffuses the space, creating a warm glow. At night, color-coded fluorescent lighting provides visual cues to distinguish the individual floors while simultaneously turning the installation into a multicolored work of art from the exterior.
4. Herma Parking Building, Yongin, South Korea
One of the most strikingly beautiful structures on our list, the Herma parking structure was designed by JOHO architecture and opened to the public in 2010. The designers, wanting to emphasize the retail facilities on the ground level, aimed to make the building a work of art.
The exterior walls are composed of 600 polycarbonate and 900 stainless steel panels, giving the building a shimmering sheen set off beautifully by the city lights.
One end of the building comes together to a sharper point, rather than the dull rectangle of normal lots. The interior too is full of interesting angles and shapes and offers a panoramic view of the city through the swooping apertures in the building’s outer shell.
5. Veranda Car Park, Rotterdam, Holland
Designed by architect Paul de Ruiter in 2013, the Veranda Car Park was built to solve parking problems on the Veranda Strip near the Feyenoord stadium in Rotterdam. The structure was designed to be visually appealing from the outside and inside as well, with swooping curves on the outer walls and an impressive nine-store space at the center, with enough room for 650 cars.
The building is airy, bright and comfortable to be in.
The car park has with four stories above ground, four below the ground, and a street level floor filled with retail shops and spaces. The garage is trapezium-shaped with rounded edges, and the wide-open central area lets in huge amounts of daylight—even down to the underground levels.
These lower levels were built using a unique construction method in which each floor was laid in a downwards succession. The earth was excavated down to the depth of the first floor, the floor laid and walls built, and then the process was repeated for each floor below ground. The excavated dirt was removed through the central opening of the structure.
6. Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Garage, Santa Monica, CA USA
The Santa Monica Civic Center parking garage shatters the stereotype of parking garages as unfriendly concrete monoliths, both with an exciting modern design and eco-friendly esthetics and construction techniques. Designed by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners (MRY), the garage is able to accommodate 900 vehicles, with space to charge 14 electric vehicles, and an additional bicycle storage as well.
The garage is also equipped with a photovoltaic solar energy array on the roof, has a storm rainwater treatment system and it’s built predominantly from recycled materials. The focus on alternative energy and sustainability netted the garage the only parking structure that won a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification up to this day.
7. The Parkhaus Engelenschanze, Stuttgart, Germany
Designed by Petry – Wittfoht Freier Architekten (now known as Wittfoht Architekten) and built in 2006, the Parkhaus Engelenschanze focuses on minimal use of concrete and a lot of glass, thereby resembling a beautiful office building or modern home than a parking garage. This brilliantly designed structure, topped with an actual office suite, can accommodate 485 automobiles.
The designers wanted to create a structure that melded harmoniously with the surrounding buildings. The concrete ramps going up and down within the glass shroud merge mid-slope at the center of the garage.
Parking can be found all along the ramps. A central courtyard adds natural light and is filled with lush greenery, including a waterfall as well.
Which one of these awesome garages is your favorite pick?
Do you know of more car parks and garages with awesome design ideas? Let us know in the comments below!