The world is filled with perplexing designs, parking garages are one of them

Garagenatelier by Peter Kunz Architektur Image © Peter Kunz Architektur

Garagenatelier by Peter Kunz Architektur Image © Peter Kunz Architektur

The infamous parking garage. These monumentally sized structures have plagued city infrastructures across the globe. As the automobile still remains the most popular choice of transportation, it’s no question we have so many parking garages. Often described as monolithic and bulky many architects and developers, depending on the project, see the parking garage an unfortunate expense. However, despite the many qualms people have about these massive structures, not all parking garage’s are alike.

Below are 12 of the most intriguingly designed parking structures found all over the globe. Scroll down to view each car park and their descriptions below. *Structures are listed in no particular order.

Charles Street Car Park Image © Alamy

#12 Charles Street Car Park
Location: Manchester, UK
Designed by: Allies and Morrison
Description: “The structure consists of precast concrete columns, walls and floors. The external envelope is finished in natural anodized aluminum panels, painted green on the inside. Each is manufactured from a single sheet of folded aluminum, cut to an angle on two sides, and hung in four different orientations. This provides natural ventilation and hides the structure behind a homogeneous surface.”

Image © Thomas Hawk

#11 Marina City Parking
Location: Chicago, IL
Designed by: Bertrand Goldberg
Description: “Marina City consists of 5 buildings – two residential towers, an office building (now a hotel), theater building and a large base structure upon which the buildings are sited. The residential towers included twenty lower floors of ramped parking and forty floors of apartments. The apartments were built for economy, with large windows and balconies to enhance the views. Based on a “pie-shaped” layout, there was a gentle flaring in the layouts directing the viewer to the outdoors views.” Currently the car park rests on the

Parking Garage of Leipzig Zoo Image © HPP Architects

#10 Parking Garage of the Leipzig Zoo
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Designed by: HPP Architects
Description: “With around 1.3 million visitors per year, the Leipzig zoo is one of the favorite animal parks in Germany. In order to provide the zoo’s visitors with enough parking, a competition was held in 2002 for the design of a parking garage with an attractive as well as economical design concept. The parking garage was supposed to express a unity with the adjacent zoo grounds. As a result, the designers sought with bamboo a façade material that would both make reference to the exotic world of the zoo and lend the structure a soft and haptic impression.”

Sinking Ship Parking Garage Image © Brian Danger

#9 Sinking Ship Parking Garage in Seattle, WA
Location: Seattle, WA
Designed by: Mandeville and Berge
Description: “The Sinking Ship is a multi-story parking garage in Pioneer Square, Seattle bound by James Street to the north, Yesler Way to the south, and 2nd Avenue to the east, and just steps away from the Pioneer Building on the site of the former Occidental Hotels and Seattle Hotel. After the Seattle Hotel was demolished in 1961, the Sinking Ship was built as part of a neighborhood redesign.

1111 Lincoln Rd Parking Garage Image © Xavier de Jauréguiberry

#8 1111 Lincoln Road Parking Garage
Location: Miami Beach, FL
Designed by: Herzog & de Meuron
Description: “The nature of Lincoln Road was the one source of inspiration for the architecture of the car park. The garage is a fully open concrete structure. Ceiling heights vary between standard parking height and double or even triple height, in order to accommodate other programs, permanently as well as temporarily.”

Garagenatelier Image © Peter Kunz Architektur

#7 Garagenatelier
Location: Herdern, SW
Designed by: Allies and Morrison
Description: “A car park located near the mountains of Herdern. The five cubed parking units are constructed of concrete and are embedded into the landscape of the sloping terrain. The interiors of the parking structure can hold 8 vehicles all together while 5 of the units are visible. The large glass surface making up a face of the cube units allows for natural daylight to enter.”

Autostadt Car Silo Image © Krisztian Bocsi

#6 Autostadt Car Silo
Location: Wolfsburg, Germany
Designed by: Henn GmbH
Description: “The northern limitation of the Autostadt Wolfsburg is created by a long, rectangular water basin with two glass cylinders to the northeast: the AutoTürme. They all symbolize the process of vehicle production and serve as an intermediate storage for the newly completed cars prior to delivery. Every tower holds 400 vehicles which are transported via elevators into the free shafts of the 20 storeys. Every 40 seconds a new car arrives underground at the cylinder from the production plant, while another leaves the towers in the direction of the KundenCentre. This constant movement to the inside of the cylinder as a glass motor sets the heartbeat of the Autostadt Wolfsburg.”

Underground garage by Royal HaskoningDHV Image © Luuk Kramer

#5 Underground Garage
Location: Katwijk ann Zee, Netherlands
Designed by: Royal Haskoning DHV
Description: “The underground parking is carefully embedded into its natural dune environment so as to respect its surrounding landscape. The design team took an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to this project, taking into consideration the need for defensive coastal protection, functional parking requirements, as well as ensuring to create an appropriate landscape design that blends naturally with its coastal environment.”

Parking Garage at Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc Image © Lieven van Landschoot

#4 Parking Garage at Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Designed by: 
Gortemaker Algra Feenstra
Description: “The parking exists of two layers above ground and three underground layers. The upper part connects the existing height differences of the landscape with each other, while the roof is laid out as parkland. To generate a livable underground part a vide was created alongside the road. On the one hand the vide leads daylight into the parking and on the other hand it provides natural ventilation. The vide is furnished as a wavy green slope, visible from the parking. The organic form language of the facades is in contrast with the surrounding brutal architecture, however it blends seamlessly into the hilly landscape. With this building as an entrance, the campus will get a recognizable and friendly character.”

RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre Car Park Image © Jannes Linders

#3 RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre Car Park
Location: Amsterdam
Designed by: Benthem Crouwel
Description: “The building is 30 meters high and its eight floors offer parking space for about 1.000 cars. The car park is situated on the ring road A10 and the Zuidas, Amsterdam’s business district. What makes the building remarkable is the fact that the first floor is not just for parking cars, but can also be used as a flexible space for conventions and exhibitions. When the RAI does not need the car park, the building can function as a public parking space. The building is characterized by a simple, rectangular shape.”
Faena Car Park Image © Bruce Demonte

Faena Car Park by OMA, in Miami

Location: Miami, FL
Designed by: OMA
Description: “Faena Park, OMA’s first freestanding garage, is a state-of-the-art parking structure programmed with street level retail, three levels of parking and a penthouse event space with views to the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding Faena District. A precast concrete façade with angled perforations accommodates the required natural ventilation, while also controlling views of the building’s contents, subtlety reflecting the color of cars parked within. An exposed glass elevator shaftway on 35th street reveals the vehicular and passenger movement within the building’s structure.”

Michigan Theatre Car Park Image ©

#1 Michigan Theatre Car Park
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Designed by: Rapp & Rapp
Description: “It was constructed in 1925 and stands at 13 floors in height. Today it contains a bar, restaurant, retail space, office space, a parking garage, and the shared co-working space Cowork at The Michigan. The high-rise was constructed in the Renaissance Revival. The exterior of the building is faced with brick with terra cotta and granite accents. The ground level contains retail space with large windows still framed by the original decorative metal work.”

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