Parking garages generally have a bad reputation - particularly now that cars 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 Parking 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.
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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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.