As Earth’s population continues to grow, so does car traffic and issues related to climate change. It has been estimated about 30% of urban roadway congestion are drivers searching for a place to park. Car culture puts the pressure on cities to build more parking garages, which usually win out over green parks. Meanwhile, climate change continues to challenge cities to handle a great deal of stormwater. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is proof of this - as of Monday, 13 named storms have formed in the Atlantic ocean, costing 210 lives and counting.
THIRD NATURE, a Danish architecture firm, designed a solution for the modern-day urban issues of flooding, parking and lacking green spaces with their project, POP-UP. A stacked green space, car park, and water reservoir, from top to bottom respectively, POP-UP uses Archimedes’ principle to store water and create floating space to store cars.
We sat down with a map showing where the biggest problems with water handling will occur and another map showing where there are the biggest problems with parking. When you put the two maps on top of each other, you can see some places where there is potential for solving two problems with the same concept, said Ole Schroder, partner at THIRD NATURE.
POP-UP’s varying height changes the city skyline based on the weather. On a dry, sunny day, the car park exists underground with the green space above. On stormy days, overflow sewers lead rainwater below the car park to the water reservoir. As the water reservoir fills up, the parking structure moves up. POP-UP works because of Archimedes’ principle of flotation which states, “buoyancy of a submerged body corresponds to the weight of the displaced fluid.” Hydraulic lifting and steering bearings, along with retaining walls and supplementary guide tracks, secure the structure's movement up and down during water level changes. No matter the water level, the car park stays accessible to pedestrians and cars alike.
While POP-UP is more expensive than a traditional parking garage and water reservoir, it combines three urban elements into one which frees up building plots for residential or commercial spaces. Plus, building just one structure instead of all three would save on construction costs.
Even though POP-UP was designed for Copenhagen and St. John’s Park in New York, THIRD NATURE, in partnership with engineering companies COWI and RAMBOLL, participated in New York based workshops to create innovative climate solutions that are adaptable across all cities and borders.
Arguably as important as the project itself, POP-UP provides design-integrated climate adaptation strategy development. The design team asserts that better, more beautiful urban spaces can be achieved by investing in projects, like POP-UP, that coalesces design and sustainability.
Architect in ChargeOle Schrøder
Design TeamIryna Tsioma
PhotographsCourtesy of THIRD NATURE
Learn more about the project here.