For those who appreciate architectural wonders that transform the ordinary into something rather extraordinary, the award-winning airport parking operator and retailer Airport Parking & Hotels (APH) has collated a list of the 10 most quirky, unusual and spectacularly-designed car parks from around the world.
- The Cheesegrater: Sheffield, UK
Located on Charles Street in Sheffield, this 10-level multi-storey car park provides visitors to the city centre with 520 spaces and is affectionately known as the ‘cheesegrater’ thanks to its striking and cube-shaped external design. The car park was designed by architects Allies and Morrison as part of the Heart of the City project, which also included the Peace Gardens, Winter Garden and Millennium Gallery.
- Volkswagen’s Autostadt Car Towers: Wolfsburg, Germany
Volkswagen’s twin Autostadt Car Towers are a famous landmark in Wolfsburg and have been designed to store new cars next to the Car Distribution Centre. The two steel frame structures house new cars that are delivered from the adjacent Volkswagen manufacturing factory using a robotic-pallet system mounted on rails. Once purchased by a customer, a new car is then fetched from one of the towers via a ‘car shuttle’.
- Umihotaru, The Floating Car Park: Tokyo Bay, Japan
Japan’s ‘floating car park’ is an artificial island in Tokyo Bay and the world’s only highway rest stop that sits on top of the water. Umihotaru was designed to look like a cruise ship and forms part of the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, a bridge-tunnel that connects the cities of Kawasaki and Kisarazu. Drivers can either travel to the car park in order to admire the views of the bay or drive straight through to the tunnel entrance where they will be taken under the water until they reach the other side.
- SAIT Polytechnic Parkade: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Located at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, this underground car park designed by Revery Architecture includes a unique screen mural on the exposed sides of the building, creating an incredible public art wall. Consisting of thousands of holes punched into a metal screen, the changing position of the sun creates a pixilated image of moving clouds and the sky on the wall.
- City Hall Automated Parking Garage: West Hollywood, California, USA
Upon entering the automated parking garage at West Hollywood’s City Hall, Unitronics’ robotic lifts and shuttles transfer a driver’s vehicle away to one of the 200 spaces available in the structure, with little effort required from the driver. Automated parking systems are considered more eco-friendly than standard parking buildings since less space is required.
- Ballet Valet Parking Garage: Miami, Florida, USA
One block of historic art deco facade in Miami Beach’s South Beach was adapted by designers Arquitectonica to include a parking garage within and above shops along the street. The car park has 650 spaces and includes a vertical green zone consisting of three types of plants, each in different shades of green and providing an urban sanctuary for birds.
- Automated Parking System at Emirates Financial Towers: Dubai, UAE
The automated parking system at the Emirates Financial Towers in Dubai applies innovative technology that enables up to 1,191 cars to be parked by the computerised parking management system. Even more incredibly, over time the system will ‘learn’ a driver’s parking history and automatically shuffle their car towards the exit a few minutes before the driver’s standard departure time.
- Garagenatelier Car Park: Herdern, Switzerland
Garagenatelier Car Park was created when Peter Kunz Architects embedded five concrete parking cubes into the Swiss mountain of Herdern. The cubes are fitted with a glass pane, providing drivers with incredible views of the surrounding landscape. The parking building has space for eight cars in total.
- Eureka Parking: Melbourne, Australia
Located at the Eureka Tower, the tallest building in Melbourne, the Eureka Parking car park was designed by emerystudio design team using a 3D chalk-drawing technique. The car park includes colourful forms and painted keywords such as ‘in’, ‘out’ and ‘up’ that are both two- and three-dimensional and snap into alignment to display information at crossroad junctions.
- Rheinauhafen Parking Tunnel: Cologne, Germany
At nearly 2.5 miles long, Rheinauhafen Parking Tunnel is one of the longest parking areas in the world but only has three entrances. Along with providing residents of Cologne with miles of parking, the tunnel also acts as a surge flood protection as it was built alongside the river Rhine and can withstand up to 37 feet of floodwater, ensuring no flood breaks the bank of the city.