House of Cars:Innovation and the Parking Garage

When you think about the architecture of parking garages, the term "eyesore" often comes to mind. It has not always been this way, and it certainly does not always have to be.

A new exhibit House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. takes a closer look at parking structures past and future with a focus on their relationship between parking structures and the built environment.
"As soon as there were cars, there was a parking problem, and cities responded both by finding ways to fit cars into old structures – such as carriage houses – and inventing a new building type made specifically for automobile storage. As the parking garage's building type evolved, innovative engineers explored the best ways to lay out parking places and create structural systems to accommodate both cars and people. "
NPR also did an interesting story about it.

There is also an excellent companion exhibit that focuses on contemporary art in the parking garage. As a result, the exhibition includes a gallery devoted to the parking garage in art and the popular imagination.

Finally, if you can not make it to DC but want to learn more about the history of parking design and its relationship to the urban form check out the book, "The Parking Garage: Design and Evolution of a Modern Urban Form" by Shannon Sanders McDonald. It is published by the Urban Land Institute.

Posted in Beyond Parking on Dec 01, 2009

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