Can Parking Garages Be Architectural and Green?

super park photo

Photo by B. Alter

Since cars and parking lots are not going to disappear, let's appreciate the good ones. In South Beach, Miami, they have parking garages that are architectural and green. They are low-rise, well-designed, hold lots of cars and they aren't ugly sprawling lots.

Let's start with the hottest architecturally designed lot ever: by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, no less, and located at the foot of Lincoln Road, the fashionable walking/shopping street in the heart of trendy South Beach.

interior parking photo

Photo by B. Alter

Called 1111 LIncoln Road, and written up everywhere, it is the only place to be seen with your car. It was built by a private developer who has a penthouse apartment on the roof, and there's an exclusive boutique on Level 3. The soaring top floor has become THE venue to rent for weddings and bar mitzvahs in the evening, all lit-up with a spectacular view of the ocean.

There is no nasty stuff here; it is big, light and airy. Designed as a 7 storey series of spaces, with some floors having very high ceilings and others mezzanines and no exterior walls. Going up the ramp gives a great view of the city and ocean. Indeed it is said that "most people don't know what it is. Those who know what it is think it's unfinished. Those who know it's finished don't know how to get in." People are asking taxis to drive to the top of the building and down again, just for the fun of it.

In the end it is perfect Miami: theatrical, shopping, stylish and fun.

green parking photo

Photo by B. Alter

Onto the green; and isn't it a beauty. It was designed by famous Miami architects Arquitectonica way back in 1997 which was well before green living walls started to be popular.

garageBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

This 6 storey lot is located in the midst of a now thriving Art Deco commercial strip of Cuban restaurants and popular stores. When they built it the area was run-down and it was part of a revitalization project. There are three rows of different kinds of plants over a trellis, which now form a complete green cover of hanging vines.

deco park photo

Photo by B.Alter

It isn't called the Art Deco district for nothing. Built in the 1930's and 40's, the South Beach area is filled with old deco apartment buildings, hotels and retail shops, all in the familiar, sunny pink and white stucco. The parking garages fit right in with the rest of the buildings, are small, walk-up mainly and accommodate hundreds of cars which would otherwise be clogging up the streets.

More on Parking Lots:

LEED or Not, Parking Garages Are Not Green
Can Great Design Redeem the Parking Garage?
Sanyo Completes Installation of Solar Parking Lots for Electric

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