To most of us, a car park is nothing more than a place to safely leave our vehicle while we do some shopping, enjoy a meal, or perhaps go to a football match or some other exciting event. We would never consider a car park as a work of architecture with wow factor, would we? Well, some designers have other ideas! Some of the car parks we’re going to look at this week push the boundaries of architecture to the limits, and leave us amazed at their beauty… While others are just, well, weird!
Umihotaru, the Floating Car Park – Tokyo
This car park is a genuine tourist attraction in Tokyo: an artificial floating island that bobs around on the waves sounds like a great idea, but give it a miss if you’ve forgotten your sea legs!
Marina City – Chicago
Finished in 1964, this pair of matching towers have a charm all of their own. Movie buffs amongst you may recognise them from the car chase sequence in Steve McQueen’s classic, The Hunter. Designed to be self-contained shopping and entertainment centres, the bottom third of the towers feature an endless spiral car park from bottom to top ─ ideal for a car chase! Maybe not so ideal if you’re prone to dizzy spells!
Parkhaus Engelenschanze – Germany
Constructed entirely of steel and glass, this jaw-droppingly beautiful car park would be enough to make our list on looks alone – but then you find out that it has a waterfall and stream running through it, elevating the modern design and mixing it with a lovely touch of natural beauty. So who’s now looking for an excuse to visit Münster for a shopping trip?!
McMurdo Station – Antarctica
Don’t you just hate it when you drive around a car park for ages looking for a space? You’ll never have that problem at McMurdo Station: the trouble is that it’s the most remote car park in the world, and your car will probably freeze before you get there.
Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Structure – Santa Monica, California
Powered by solar panels, featuring multi-coloured LED lights and recharging pods for electric cars, Santa Monica’s civic centre car park is one of the most eye-catching structures in the world. Those stunning looks aren’t compromised in any way by the construction, which is as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible. If Carlsberg made car parks…
370 Beech Street – Illinois, US
Another iconic movie moment made this steel and glass construction famous. Featuring in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as the home of Cameron’s father’s Ferrari California helped this property sell for over a million dollars in 2014. I mean, we like a nice car park, but that’s MAD!
U.S.S. Ronald Reagan – Somewhere in the ocean!
It may seem bizarre, but it’s not uncommon for the US Navy to use an aircraft carrier to ferry Navy sailor’s personal vehicles from port to port until reaching their final destination. A carrier can carry hundreds of cars at a time, making a ship like the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan the most expensive car park in the world at $4.5 billion! Not massively convenient for a quick trip out though.
Kansas City‘s Public Library Community Bookshelf – Kansas, US
Fancy something to read whilst waiting for your other half to shop? This car park in Kansas is adorned with 22 literary classics measuring over 25 feet high! As you drive past it looks like a giant’s bookshelf.
Rheinauhafen Parking Tunnel – Cologne, Germany
Built alongside the Rhine, and therefore susceptible to flooding, this car park can withstand up to 37 feet of flood water before losing integrity. Oh, and it’s called a parking tunnel because it’s over 2.5 miles long! Kind of clever, but also a bit scary!
The VW Autostadt – Wolfsburg, Germany
Another remarkable feat of German engineering, the Autostadt (Car City) glass silos store new Volkswagen cars before they’re sold on site. The lifting towers move at a rate of 1 meter every 1 1/2 seconds ─ and they need to, because customers pick up 600 cars a day from this extraordinary car city.
OK, we can’t promise anything quite as funky as the above at Trafalgar Street, but we do offer fantastic prices and functionality when you compare us to other car parks in Leeds!
Credits for photos as follows: