The World’s 10 Coolest Car Parks

  • 02 Nov 2013
  • by
  • Architecture News
1111 Lincoln Road in Miami, USA. Image © Nelson Garrido/1111Lincoln Road Shot Reprinted with permission from MBeach1, LLLP

Parking garages generally have a bad reputation – particularly now that are seen as such an environmentally unfriendly way to travel, not to mention the fact that they are often unattractive utilitarian structures. To counteract this common perception, the website Stress Free Airport has launched an award for the World’s Coolest Car Park. Read on after the break to find out which 10 parking structures have been shortlisted for the top award.

Millenium Point in Birmingham, UK. Via Flickr CC user. Image © Elliott Brown

Millennium Point Car Park, Birmingham, UK

Designed by Birmingham City Council’s in-house team, Millennium Point has blue acrylic panels which create a ‘light cube’ effect among its cubic facade.

Michigan Theatre in Detroit, USA. Via Flickr CC user. Image © Pikturewerk

Michigan Theatre, Detroit, USA

This entry from the Motor City itself was originally, as the name suggests, a theatre. When it was closed, engineers feared that demolishing it would destabilize surrounding buildings, so converted it into a carpark – a bizarre cross of utilitarian structure, grandiose classicism and crumbling ruin.

Veranda Car Park in Rotterdam, Holland. Image © Rien van Rijthoven

Veranda Car Park, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The architect of the Veranda Car Park, Paul de Ruiter, consciously aimed to change the public’s understanding of car parks, creating a building around a central void that provides a striking architectural image from inside and out.

Charles Street in Sheffield, UK. Via Flickr CC user. Image © Sofia Gk

Charles Street, Sheffield, UK

Designed by Allies and Morrison and nicknamed “The Sheffield Cheese Grater” this building’s angular facade, created by identical units oriented at a variety of angles, creates interesting light patterns on the inside of the building.

1111 Lincoln Road in Miami, USA. Image © Nelson Garrido/1111Lincoln Road Shot Reprinted with permission from MBeach1, LLLP

1111 Lincoln Road, Miami, USA

With 1111 Lincoln Road, Herzog & de Meuron set out to create a structure which, whilst being honest about its primary function, was also a destination in the city – and succeeded with a design that is as popular as a function space as well as a place to park.

Car Park Plaza in Cajnovas, Spain. Image © Teresa Sapey Architecture

Car Park Plaza, Cajnovas, Spain

This design by Teresa Sapey Architecture makes use of striking colors and graphics throughout to improve the experience of the parking garage. Each part of the graphic design is a reference to the local context, and the design is completed by a lighting scheme that aids navigation through the car park.

Ballet Valet Parking Garage in Miami, USA. Via Flickr CC user. Image © Xavier de Jauréguiberry

Ballet Valet Parking Garage, Miami, USA

Above the street-level shopping, this building is entirely covered in vegetation to soften its appearance and reduce its visual impact on the Lower South Beach area of Miami.

Cordova Parkade in Vancouver, Canada. Via Flickr CC user. Image © Kristin Resurreccion

Cordova Parkade, Vancouver, Canada

Designed as part of the regeneration of downtown Vancouver, the Cordova Parkade incorporates pieces of old bridges into the design and pays homage to the historic fabric of Vancouver with its granite and steel facade.

Parc des Celestins in Lyon, France. Via Flickr CC user. Image © Xavier de Jauréguiberry

Parc des Celestins, Lyon, France

As an underground car park, the primary challenge for this design was to get light into the structure. To achieve this, a large light well sits at the center of the design, with a large rotating mirror which reflects light into the structure.

Eureka Tower Car Park in Melbourne, Australia. Image © Mathieu Ravier

Eureka Tower Car Park, Melbourne, Australia

This car park uses clever graphics throughout the building with directions painted in large lettering onto the walls and floors to aid circulation. These graphics make clever use of perspective so that the sign only becomes legible at the point when it is needed.

Cite: Stott, Rory. "The World’s 10 Coolest Car Parks" 02 Nov 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Zaid Aljamal

    You forgot to mention the rolex tower car parking in dubai

  • Patrick H

    Love that Michigan Theatre in Detroit… very romantic.

  • jim

    MGF Architekten did a fantastic timber clad car park in Heilbronn, have a look

  • Eric in Colorado

    Although it wasn’t designed strictly as a car park, the building at Colfax & Columbine Streets in Denver, Colorado is awfully nice.

  • Andreas Savvides

    The Capitol theatre in Pretoria South Africa is similar to Michigan theatre. The theatre itself was converted into parking lot but the entrance and lobby was restored to be used as an events venue. Has some interesting history.

  • anthony

    The Washington Coliseum in DC is now used as a car park. In my opinion, its hauntingly beautiful…the idea of a massive, wide open decaying stadium (Where the Beatles played there very first US show)is very intriguing.

  • Large Cheesepop

    the parking structure at Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum is, by far, the best parking structure I have ever witnessed.