In any profession, there can be found a fanatic who turns their work into artistic masterpieces. For instance, chefs are so devoted to their craft that there are shows featuring how artistic chefs can be and even contests about which chef can be more creative and artistic. Subway employees are dubbed Sandwich Artists according to Job-applications.com. Supermarket employees decorate shelves as they are stocking them and even carpenters spend years perfecting their craft making tables, chairs, and dressers to be both functional and artistic. Aesthetic appeal drives this because even though these are necessities in our lives, it does not mean that we have to live blandly. However, some of the most widely known masterpieces were created by architects.
Architecture has always seemed to be an artistic outlet for architects that everyone gets to enjoy. Structural integrity is an added hurdle that makes architectural anomalies even more impressive. Of course, there is the ongoing pursuit for the bigger and the better, but the real question can be which avenue was chosen? Will it be height? Length? Or the odder, like, "What theme could I fashion this after?" or, "Who is this devoted to?" Many of the greats are dedicated to deities or deific principals. The Taj Mahal, the Sistine Chapel, Dome of the Rock, the Parthenon, and the Pantheon are all architectural marvels dedicated to deities.
There are other deities that are being honored through massive structure raising and that is what we are here to investigate today. Let's see what some architects have devoted to the car Gods!
20 NIEUWEGEIN PARKING GARAGE, NETHERLANDS
A city that is fairly young in the grand scheme of things, and only came into existence in 1971, Nieuwegein was built basically to be a suburb. Undergoing constant change and progress toward being green, the parking garage is making drastic efforts to "go green." Quite literally, as you can see, they went green.
New stores, a new city hall, and of course to accommodate all the new traffic, new parking structures! 1,200 spaces have been added to what seems to be a city that is growing in size very quickly. Other than being greener and more economically friendly, the Nieuwegein parking garage was designed with the intent to be more inviting, well lit, and safe.
19 MARINA CITY IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
The Marina City Parking structure boasts the ability to house a hefty maximum of 1,152 parking spaces between the bottom 19 floors of the two towers. Though it may look like fun to park your car in this structure, only the valets are actually allowed to do any of the parking and retrieval of vehicles left in their care.
Though that may be a good thing if you don't want accidents like the one in "The Hunter" where the villain drove off the structure into the water. This is not the only appearance in pop culture these famous towers have made, and surely there will be more. The upper floors of these structures offer housing for some of the many users of the parking garage.
18 NUTWOOD PARKING FACILITY IN FULLERTON, CALIFORNIA
At 764,005 square feet, this massive structure boasts parking for 2,500 vehicles spread throughout five stories! The North-facing wall is paneled with translucent glass that dances as pedestrian shadows and vehicle headlights brush across its surface. The other three walls are adorned with natural greenery and a green screen. This facility is designed with student interaction and pedestrian safety in mind.
Among other things, this building ensures adequate ventilation with perforated steel panels offering fresh air and transparency into, and out of, the facility. As an entrance into the Visual and Performing Arts Center, this building pays homage to them with artistic vision and functionality.
17 SINKING SHIP PARKING GARAGE IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
The Sinking Ship parking garage came into being due to a hotel demolition. This nifty piece of artwork took the place of the Hotel Seattle, which was damaged in, and soon met its demise because of an earthquake in 1949. Although the name stuck, it was intended to mock said structure, and in fact spurred the community to fight for the historic preservation of the neighborhood in which it's located.
The architect's intent was to build a new structure that would be functional for the masses, and according to the Seattle Times, "added what they and the garage's owners considered a complement to the historic neighborhood..." So it was built as an homage to the neighborhood that became its home.
16 1111 LINCOLN ROAD PARKING GARAGE IN MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA
This seven-story work of art strives to accent its already gorgeous surroundings of Miami. Offering 263 parking spaces, and a great venue for a variety of other gatherings held on the 7th floor, it has made quite the impression. Boasting a panoramic view for all to enjoy, it has taken the usual eyesore that parking garages are known for and upgraded it immensely.
Housing not just parking but a plethora of retail options this place is basically a mall with a view! There is even a restaurant at the top to enjoy the ocean while winding down from a hard day of shopping, but hey at least you don't have to walk far with such great parking!
15 GARAGENATELIER IN HERDERN, SWITZERLAND
Though only enough space for five vehicles, eight if you don't care about parking at the window, these spots enable you to look out over a small, serene-looking town and the Thur Plain in Switzerland. There is a staircase inside that leads you back up to the road on top. This structure melds man-made with nature as the concrete blocks ease out of the hillside almost seamlessly.
This facility is actually housing for a private collection, but it is still a parking garage, just a private one. The cube at the end is the doorway, letting traffic in and out. The artistic vision that went into the creation of this masterpiece is phenomenal!
14 AUTOSTADT CAR SILO IN WOLFSBURG, GERMANY
Want a car with the least amount of miles as you can get? This is the place to be! At Autostadt Car Silo in Germany, you can actually get a car with zero miles on it! Really, no miles! Volkswagen has these created so purchasers could peruse vehicles at their leisure and choose the perfect auto with no miles.
The two towers also offer the opportunity to simply take a ride up and down at a leisurely pace of 6 feet per second, allowing riders to view the ample supply, 400 per silo to be exact, of new cars awaiting purchase. These towers were built in homage to great customer service.
13 UNDERGROUND GARAGE IN KATWIJK AAN ZEE, NETHERLANDS
Born from the desire to preserve the coastline of Katwijk, architects needed to add parking while maintaining both the scenic beauty and economic integrity. Offering 663 underground parking spots with entrances and exits that subtly blend into the landscape, while allowing in natural light to assist in lowering the cost of lighting.
The light at the entrances and exits at night, are different colors to help with orientation and assist in users of the garage to locate their car when it is time to leave. The way this flows it sounds like it is an homage of the land of which it is built upon and the ocean at its shore.
12 PARKING GARAGE AT CLINIQUES UNIVERSITAIRES SAINT LUC IN BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
In a place where people are not always excited to go or looking forward to visiting (the doctor's office), it is important that they feel welcomed and calm. This parking structure was designed to do just that! Of the five levels of this parking garage, two are above ground. Creating both light and airflow were major points of this design, and even though three levels are supposedly underground, the building has almost been placed into a hole of sorts, allowing the slatted walls to continue all the way down giving natural light to the entirety of the structure.
Along the edges of this "hole" is a mesh that will in a short time be home to beautiful greenery or shrubbery to further the calming effect.
11 FLOATING CAR PARK IN UMIHOTARU, JAPAN
Poseidon himself would be pleased with this creation. This island was created as a stopover for the aqua-line but quickly evolved into a utopia on the Tokyo Bay. Umihotaru car park is a seven-level structure that is strictly parking on the first three levels and consumer activities on the upper four levels.
A unique feature of this facility is that it was created in the shape of a cruise ship. Often, travelers will trek out to the stopover only with the intention of spending the day at the floating mall. The monumental expressive creation divulged in this masterpiece gives homage to all seafaring patrons!
10 IBN BATTUTA GATE IN DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
To the car owner, it appears that they are parking in a single parking space. However, after the owner leaves, the vehicle is whisked away and taken to an elevator that stows the car away in the recesses of the facility. The robotic system that was developed by Robotic Parking, based out of the United States, can park an astonishing 250 cars per hour!
The Ibn Battuta Gate parking garage contains 765 spaces on 7 levels. This is the first of many robotic parking garages to come to the Middle East says construction week online. The structure is dedicated to Ibn Battuta, who was a famous Muslim traveler and writer.
9 THE ECO-CYCLE IN TOKYO, JAPAN
This is a very fascinating piece of architecture. What looks like a toll booth is, in reality, a full-scale underground bicycle storage facility! The storage silo holds up to 204 bicycles in a hole only 39 feet deep. In an effort to un-clutter the streets of Tokyo, the city has contracted with Giken to create a safe and efficient way to store commuters' bicycles.
The ECO-Cycle storage facility addresses illegal bicycle parking, cost-effective bicycle parking, bicycle theft, and promotes the use of eco-friendly transportation. ECO Cycle has also developed an above-ground mobile version of their storage facility. These facilities are made in homage to cleaner public transportation.
8 RHEINAUHAFEN PARKING TUNNEL IN COLOGNE, GERMANY
The Rheinauhafen parking tunnel is the world's longest parking garage, spanning nearly two and a half miles! The neat thing about this tunnel is that it is almost impervious to flooding. It can withstand up to 37 feet of water without issue. The Rheinauhafen was constructed next to the Rhine river which has a bad habit of overflowing, so the architects had to make sure that those who parked their cars in there would not have to swim to get to them later.
One major drawback to the Rheinauhafen is that it only has three entrances, according to Popular Mechanics. The nice thing about this garage is that it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, because it's underground. With only three entrances, I would say this place is dedicated to healthy living!
7 MICHIGAN THEATER IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN
A far cry from what we have been looking at thus far, the Michigan Theater embraces the decrepit. Once a 4,038 seat Renaissance-style theater, then a movie theater, then a restaurant, then a theater again, then a club, then a rock and roll center, the place was set to be razed.
However, according to historicdetroit.org, architects concluded that demolition of the historic facility would jeopardize the structural integrity of the surrounding buildings. With the place being unprofitable and becoming an eyesore but not being able to do anything about it, something had to be done, so it was turned into a three-level parking garage! This facility is in honor of classic luxury.
6 KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY IN KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
In an effort to beautify the area around the Kansas City Public Library, residents were asked to provide input into what would help. Out of that, the idea of the Bookshelf was born. This Aesthetically pleasing idea promoted community involvement which spurred neighborhood pride.
The parking garage is hidden behind a "bookshelf" of 42 titles on 22 books where the books stand roughly 25 feet high by 9 feet wide. Titles were submitted by the community and selected by the library committee to demonstrate the large variety of readers that visit the library. This amazing structure full of fun and inspiration stemmed from the cities need for more public parking.
5 FESTSPIELGARAGE IN ERL, AUSTRIA
With festival grounds nearby growing in popularity, people needed a place to park. Thus, parking was becoming an issue. The architect, Kleboth Lindinger Dollnig, strove to provide a solution that would complement the surrounding scenery while providing adequate parking for their needs.
With 550 spaces and three levels, this place is unique in that it doesn't utilize lines. Rather, it uses orange and white squares to denote parking spaces. Another unique aspect that the Festspielgarage boasts is that the roof is part of the landscape offering a grassy stretch to walk upon. Separate entrances for each level allow better interior space usage, and the outer mesh on the walls will soon be filled with lush greenery helping the structure blend in even better with its surroundings.
4 CAROUSEL PARKING GARAGE IN TOKYO, JAPAN
When I think of a "carousel," I think of the little fake horses on sticks you sit on that go in circles at the circus. This gives me a new vision of a carousel thankfully. This is cool because your car gets to enjoy a ride on a Ferris wheel! Japan has a tremendous population that is growing each and every day, so space is limited.
With limited space, there isn't much room for expansive, elaborate parking garages, so they go with what's available - up! A driver pulls in to the parking spot, gets out, and his/her car gets swept up by the carousel and stored in nice vertical columns until the driver needs it back. This was probably made in homage to Mr. Ferris!
3 EUREKA CAR PARK IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
We all know that things are done a little differently down under, and parking garage construction is no exception! The designers of the Eureka Car Park took great pains to ensure drivers knew exactly where they were going. Words were painted on the floors, walls, and ceilings that are specifically designed to be legible at the right vantage point.
The use of the entire landscape breaks up the monotony and helps keep drivers more aware of their surroundings because they are paying attention to the creativity. On the same token, drivers may only be checking out the graphics and completely neglect a fellow motorist. This seems to honor Dr. Seuss.
2 THE PARKHAUS ENGELENSCHANZE IN GERMANY
In a country where it sounds like everyone is yelling at you, the Parkhaus Engelenschanze was created to help people feel safe. Created to do away with the dark recesses that parking garages typically have, an all-glass exterior lets in an abundance of natural light.
There is also a courtyard with running water (a soothing sound) to calm the nerves. 480 parking spaces reside inside this sanctuary. Drivers need not even worry about running into oncoming traffic as the ramps are structured as to never cross incoming traffic with outgoing traffic. I feel that this place is dedicated to inner peace!
1 SANTA MONICA CIVIC CENTER PARKING STRUCTURE IN SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA
As the world moves toward a lighter carbon footprint, places to store your vehicle are no different. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, the structure is solar-powered and hosts spaces for 14 electric vehicles out of 900 total spots. As an environmental powerhouse, it hosts spaces for bicycles, electric bikes, and motorcycles as well.
This 300,000 square foot facility uses LED lighting and was erected out of sustainably sourced goods. Another major importance of this parking structure was to look great in its urban environment as well as serve as an entry to the Civic Center.
Sources: Seattle Times, Popular Mechanics, & Historic Detroit