Necessity Meets Beauty
The Best Use of Architectural Materials on Parking Garage Facades
Parking has always been one of society’s biggest challenges. As our economy continues to grow and new businesses emerge, the need for additional parking will become more important.
In the past, parking structures were an afterthought with minimum features and no aesthetic or integrative considerations. This is one of the main reasons parking structures have such a poor image. However, innovative solutions, standout features and artistic value are changing the game.
Reinventing the Parking Experience
Function has always been the primary focus of parking structures; such as, addressing the role it plays as the entry and exit place to our cities, towns and buildings. However, as our economy continues to change our buildings must change. What used to be an unattractive utility structure is now becoming master focal points for cities. Developers and designers are now focusing on the importance of “exciting and innovative” garage designs; from bright and colorful way-finding-systems to innovated facades.
Communities want architectural appeal and function and we have found several parking structures that break the traditional mold. Check out the following ways architects are changing the way we view these structures with modern and innovative features designed to complement and revitalize their surroundings.
New to architectural applications but with a long history in industrial use, perforate metal brings strength and style to any building enclosure that requires privacy, ventilation and mitigating to secondary light in the hours after dusk. Options are endless with a variety of patterns, perforation style/sizes, panel colors, and materials to create truly mesmerizing effects.
Laser Cut Metal
Architects are using laser cut facades as decorative metal screens to add personality, privacy, and light filtration to parking structures across the United States. It is the perfect blend of design and technology that allows architects, artist, and designers the ability to craft a design specific to their client.
Types of Parking Garage Exterior Facades
Architects make a number of decisions when designing a building. One of the most important is choosing materials that will be used in its construction. Not only must the materials be durable, practical and affordable, but they also should be aesthetically pleasing, sustainable and easier to maintain.
Lyric garage was designed with the thought process of “More than just a Garage, a Work of Art, or a Downtown Icon.” Developers and designers were looking to create the most advanced high-tech parking with an artistic edge. In addition to modern feature such as, 2-way circulation, 24 hours security, digital map, and license plate recognition, the parking structures perforated panels are lined with state-of-the-art colored LEDs. According to Jonathan Enav, the Lyric Garage’s light show will be one of the most photographed buildings in downtown Houston.
A traditional material with a contemporary look, perforated panels create a one-of-a-kind aesthetic while meeting the safety and security priorities that are essential to the successful operation of a parking structure.
When considering a new parking structure for the City of Umea, TM Architects - Christoffer Andersson was tasked with creating a “sculptural” aesthetically pleasing building that would add architectural quality to this site. The facade consists of a metal plating system that creates dimension and depth through levels of panels with different depths. The panels are then lined with LED lights that illuminate the structure creating an irregular pattern of light and shade on the panel system.
Wynwood garage is located in the Art District of Miami, FL. Because the art scene is known for its renowned murals from building to building, Wolfberg Alvarez & Partners knew this exterior facade would have to be just as edgy. The perforated plate system used is designed through irregular shapes with multiple perforated patterns. From a distance the façade looks smooth with continuous line but as you get closer to the building the perforated and laser cut patterns (that provide daylight to the parking structure) become a natural texture.
Fins and Curved Systems
Tobin Parking Garage
Tobin Parking Garage is a shared parking structure for Tobin Center for Performing Arts and First Baptist Church. Marmon Mok’s challenge was to design a space that would relate to both parties while complementing the commercial space it occupies. The upper parking decks are shaded by perforated fins that act as a shade.
Northwest Vista Parking Garage
Alamo Architects design this structure to blend with the other new structures on the campus. The parking structure unitizes simple set of curved perforated screens that mask the horizontal parking levels and add color, scale, texture and rhythm to the garage.
Of course, architecture is not the only field where this versatile material makes an impact. It is also used in industries ranging from food and beverage to transportation. Designing a structure may require a lot of decision making, but perforated metal is an easy choice.
Guest Co-Writer: Sandy Winkelman