Originally posted on the Huffington Post’s Home Section as “How a Historic Movie Palace Became America’s Most Unusual Parking Garage,” this article tells of both the history and the possible future of the Michigan Theater – once one of Detroit’s most opulent nights out, but now a crumbling (albeit oddly magnificent) parking garage. Emblematic of the city’s rapid decline, it turns out the recently-purchased Michigan Theater may also be a symbol of the city’s regeneration.
An inventor’s workshop. A movie palace. A rock club. A car park. A skate park. The backdrop for Eminem videos. Now it’s one of America‘s strangest parking garages, but a peek inside the Michigan Theatre reveals why it’s remained a landmark — and has a unique story that explains a lot about the importance of preserving cities’ historic architecture.
The former theater is attached to the Michigan Building, a partially occupied office tower, and might look familiar to some who have sought out urban decay photos. There’s something radically visceral about cars parked in the garage under the crumbling but ornately decorated ceilings of the site that in its heyday hosted legends like the Marx Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Doris Day.
Read more on the theater’s unusual, inspiring story after the break
With the intention of creating a beautiful public space from what is usually one-function building, JAJA architects are redefining what a parking deck can be. Their recent competition entry for a parking garage in the city of Nordhavn, Copenhagen is an inviting structure that incorporates green facades and a rooftop playground, making full use of its placement in an up-and-coming urban neighborhood. Read all about the aptly named “Park ‘N’ Play”, after the break.
Long Island’s downtowns have more than 4,000 acres of surface area dedicated to parking lots. That’s roughly 6.5 square miles of prime real estate, a phenomenon quite common in most American cities. When necessary, these lots are often exchanged for a standard “set of concrete shelves” that share little to no connection with their surroundings. This leads to the question, why must parking garages be so monofunctional and, well, ugly?
To help solve this nationwide issue, the Long Island Index challenged four leading architectural firms to envision a more innovative way to free up surface lot space in four Long Island communities.
See what they came up with, after the break…
This intriguing article on The Atlantic Cities highlights a growing trend as cities become more focused on pedestrians, bicycles and public transport: parking garages that are designed with alternative uses in mind. Developers are ensuring that these garages have ”good bones”, such as comfortable ceiling heights, that will allow them to be easily converted into apartments or offices in a future when many city-dwellers don’t own cars. You can read the full article here.
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.
In his column in Providence Journal, David Brussat questions why parking garages can’t be designed to better compliment their surroundings. He believes that these utilitarian spaces should look like they “belong in a city,” rather than resembling “a giant set of concrete shelves.” He also examines cities which achieve this aim – incorporating styles from Art Deco to Neo-classical – and comes to the interesting conclusion that Richmond, Virginia is the “mecca of parking decks.” You can read the full article here.
Most parking is free – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a high cost. A recent podcast from Freakonomics Radio (which you can listen to at the end of this article) examined parking in US cities, investigating the “cost of parking not paid for by drivers” – a cost paid not just by the government, but by the environment – due to congestion and pollution caused by people searching for kerbside parking. For example, in a 15 block area of Los Angeles the distance traveled by drivers looking for parking is equivalent to one trip across the USA per day.
One potential solution which they discuss is a San Francisco project called SF Park, which makes use of sensor technology to measure the demand for parking in certain areas of the city and adjust price according to demand. In theory, this would create a small number of empty spaces on each block and dramatically reduce the time that many drivers spend cruising for parking spaces.
Though the idea is certainly an intelligent approach to the problem of kerbside parking, unsurprisingly all this talk of supply, demand and pricing sounds very much like an economist’s answer to a problem. But what can designers do to help the situation?
Perhaps, from the designer’s point of view, the real problem with kerbside parking and surface lots is that they are always seen as a provision “coupled with” a building or area of the city. There have been a number of attempts by architects – some successful and some tragically flawed – to make parking spaces less of a rupture in a city’s fabric and more of a destination in themselves. Could these point to another way?
Read about 3 examples of parking’s past, and one of its potential future, after the break…
The International Parking Institute (IPI) has announced the winners of their 2010 International Parking Institute’s Awards of Excellence Competition. Each year, the competition recognizes world-class examples of parking design and program innovation.
This year’s winners reflect a parking industry trend toward sustainability with many of the projects incorporating LEED certification, energy efficient lighting, use of solar panels, advanced technologies and innovative approaches that reduce the need for more parking spaces.
To see all the winners, click here. The three awards of excellence after the break.
Architect: Paul de Ruiter
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Project Architect: Paul de Ruiter
Project Team: Michael Noordam, Dieter Blok, Monique Verhoef, Willeke Smit, Sander van Veen
Client: Dienst Stadstoezicht Rotterdam & Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Rotterdam
Construction Advisor: ABT bv, adviseurs in bouwtechniek
Installations Advisor: Halmos bv
Car Park Advisor: Spark / Twynstra Gudde, adviseurs en managers
Building Management: Gemeentewerken Rotterdam
Urban Design: Rudy Uytenhaak Architectenbureau
Contractor: Dura Vermeer Beton- en Waterbouw bv
Constructed Area: 21,000 sqm
Project Year: 2002-2003
Construction year: 2003-2005
Photographs: Rien van Rijthoven
Can’t Park? Reduced parking availability and rising parking costs? Browsing aisle after aisle, fighting over the same parking spot? Got a ticket? Little aesthetic attractiveness of urban parking lots? As much as people love to drive, all good things must come to an end: Parking.
Designboom and Nissan Motor Company are looking for YOUR artwork that illustrate your perception within the theme ‘Think outside the parking box’. Challenge conventional urban parking! playful enhanced parking technology, robotic facilities, safety, dynamic services, green parking … creative solutions that address urban parking problems, statements of objections, creative-innovative-and-hilarious ideas in form of videos, art- design objects and illustrations can be submitted.
Nissan Motor Company, Ltd. is currently the third largest Japanese car manufacturer. Two years ago Nissan launched Qashqai, a new breed of vehicle for the urban world. It is the first model to be styled by Nissan Design Europe in London and pioneered the crossover category in Europe. Qashqai is now Nissan’s best selling model. You are asked to include the ‘Qashqai’ or part of it (rear-view mirrors, grills, wheels, wheel caps,…) in your artwork. Application registration will be accepted from now until September 27th, 2009.
More information and registration here.
Architect: Guerin & Pedroza Architectes
Location: Toulouse, France
Project owner: City of Toulouse (place Occitane), Altarea (shopping centre), Vinci Park (parking)
Technical design office: Ingénierie Studio (Toulouse)
Landscaper: Julie Poirel
Light designer: Roger Narboni Concepto
Urban furniture: Guérin & Pedroza
Surface area of the place: 10,000 sqm
Surface area of the shopping centre: 15,000 sqm (16,000 sqm total floor area)
Project year: 2003-2008
Photographs: Guerin & Pedroza
Architects: Willy Müller Architects
Location: Mercabarna, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
Principal in Charge: Willy Müller
Associate Architect: Frédéric Guillaud
Project Team: Caterina Morna,Rupert Maurus (modelos 3D), Isabella Pintani, Valeria Santoni, Bruno Louzada, Francisco Villeda, Iris cantante, Marco Loperfido, Mara Cascais, Sabine Bruinink, Mario Perez Botero
Collaborators: Sérgio Pinto, Ricardo Amaral, Joana Lagès, Anne-Irène Valais, Christof Larbig, Jean-baptiste Scharffhausen, Deborah Schor, Jetske Kox, Andre Mota, Andres Ferner, Kelly Hendricks, Christian Lasch, Martin Ober-Hascher, Anja Summermatter, Kelly Klein, Gilda Camacho, Sérgio Ramos, Elke Gall
Structure Consultant: Area 5
Project year: 2005/2008
Constructed Area: 15,000 sqm
Model Photographs: Adria Goula Sarda
Photographs: Jordi Puig, Ricardo Loureiro
Belgian practice BURO II designed some new projects around this historic site with a great importance to the city of Ostend. This is, amongst others, determined by its location: the proximity to the sea the Royal Galleries and the historically important Thermae Palace. The former racecourse for horse racing was turned into a collection of projects, and a crossroads of activities, which bring a new urban dynamic to ‘the queen of seaside resorts’.
Architects: BIG Architects
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Partner in Charge: Bjarke Ingles for BIG, Julien De Smedt for JDS
Project Architect: Jakob Lange
Project Leader: Finn Nørkjær
Project Manager: Jan Borgstrøm
Construction Manager: Henrick Poulsen
Contributors: Annette Jensen, Dariusz Bojarski, Dennis Rasmussen, Eva Hviid-Nielsen, Joao Vieira Costa, Jørn Jensen, Karsten V. Vestergaard, Karsten Hammer Hansen, Leon Rost, Louise Steffensen, Malte Rosenquist, Mia Frederiksen, Ole Elkjær-Larsen, Ole Nannberg, Roberto Rosales Salazar, Rong Bin, Sophus Søbye, Søren Lambertsen, Wataru Tanaka
Collaborators: JDS/JULIEN DE SMEDT ARCHITECTS, Moe & Brødsgaard, Freddy Madsen Rådgivende Ingeniører ApS
Client: Høpfner A/S
Engineering: Moe & Brodsgaard
Construction: DS Elcobyg A/S /PH Montage
Project year: 2008
Constructed Area: 33,000 sqm
Photographs: Dragor Luft, Jacob Boserup, Jens Lindhe, Ulrik Jantzen
Architect: ARTEKS Arquitectura + Esther Pascal architect
Location: Ordino, Andorra
Architects in charge: Elisabet Faura & Ester Pascal
Collaborators: Gemma Roca, Dalila Pregal, Alvaro Briceño, Malte Ruckert, Ruper Maurus, Carlos Cobreros, Cecilia Vázquez , Alex Miralles
Artistic Collaborator: Victor Pérez Porro
Structure: GETCE BEAL_ Xavier Beal Vilaginés
Utilities: Bernabé Rodriguez
Acoustics: Higini Arau
General Contractor: COIMA S.A
Constructed Area: 9,714 sqm
Photographs: Pedro Pegenaute & Eugeni Pons