June 02, 2003
More on the aesthetics of car parks

One of the oddities of Samizdata is that comments come in on postings long forgotten. Usually they can be allowed to settle back into the archives, but there was one a day or two ago, on the subject of the the aesthetics of car parks, which I found interesting. Says David Sucher:

Not exactly on point but if you are interested in parking (and the reality is that urbanism starts with the location of the parking lot) take a look at …

… and then he supplies a link to a site peddling automatic car parks.

The original posting said that since car parks make up such a large part of – and an increasing percentage of – the surface of the earth, wouldn't it be nice if they looked a bit nicer? Yes it would.

One way of making car parks nicer would be to just make them nicer, the ones we already have, the ones we now drive into and park our cars in. But another way is to turn parking a car into an automatic storage problem, which has the potential to make car parks far more spacially efficient, and that is very relevant to aesthetics. The aesthetic problem of so many car parks is that they tend to sprawl so horribly all over the landscape.

Benefits of the automatic parking system include: optimization of space utilization, security (vehicle and personal), convenience (all ground level access), lower garage owner's liability insurance, greater depreciation schedule, lower lighting and ventilation requirements (no cars driving around inside; no people go inside), and lower emissions and less pollution (clean parking system).

That sounds like something that would be a lot cheaper to decorate nicely than your usual multi-story.

So even if on the face of it these machines are as ugly as sin, they are nevertheless a great aesthetic contribution to city life, and to life generally. If these things can be got working in city centres, why not eventually at more out-of-town spots like sports stadia and shopping centres?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:25 PM
Category: Architecture