Parking your car is usually a mundane business, however as these examples below show, some car parks are anything but mundane.
Car parks aren’t normally glamorous and in most cases were never meant to be, however there are certain places in the world where the area housing your car is just as exciting as your car itself.
Here then are the top ten most impressive places to park your car, not ranked in terms of the view of the surrounding area but in terms of the originality of the car park.
The first unique car park in the world is the Michigan Theatre in Detroit. Detroit is a famous motor city in itself, with cars such as the Chevrolet produced by GM and motor companies such as Chrysler and Ford having their present headquarters nearby. The theatre was in its heyday one of the most elegant places to watch productions, however its decline suffered along with the Michigan city.
It was only the fact that the theatre was needed to keep two adjoining buildings standing that the bulldozers did not flatten it. It was therefore transformed into a level three car park; quite fitting for the place that saw the creation of the first ever Ford model.
Staying with the theme of car companies and car parks, the next parking lots in the list are the Volkswagen Autostadt Car Towers in Wolfsburg. Situated in the Autostadt complex and offering great views of the Volkswagen Arena, the two twenty floor structures can handle up to 800 cars.
New Volkswagen enthusiasts can collect cars from the towers with the help of an electric arm. The arm slides under the relevant car and pulls it out, lowering it to the ground floor where it can be driven out. The glass car silos are an attraction in themselves and were constructed with the rest of the Autostadt complex at the turn of the millennium.
Next on the list is 1111 Lincoln Road, a car park in Miami on Florida’s east coast. The design was drawn up by noted Swiss architect firm Herzog and de Meuron, who found fame designing and creating the Bird’s Nest Stadium which was used for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The car park cost $70 million to build and is the de facto entrance to the pedestrian promenade in Lincoln Road.
Purposely built so that when people parked their Nissan or BMW they could admire the striking views of Miami, the parking station is one of the most ambitious projects undertaken in Miami’s recent history. It serves as both a parking area for the residential properties at 1111 Lincoln Road and as a place where shoppers can leave their cars.
The Australians love nothing more than showing off their great country to visitors and the Eureka Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in Melbourne. What is not as widely known is that the car park for Eureka Tower is just as colourful as the skyscraper, allowing motorists the opportunity to have their day brightened up.
German designer Axel Peemoeller was hired to create what on the face of it looks a confusing and disjointed selection of images. However these images form signs when passing by in a car such as a Fiat which direct motorists where to go for parking or exiting.
Kansas City is famous for being split across two American states, however it also has an innovative car park which has been created to loook like a bookshelf. The Kansas City Library parking garage has been given the nickname of the community bookshelf for good reason. Driving your Ford into the garage is akin to driving through a whole host of novels.
The external façade features the spines of 22 world famous books including such classics as ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘Catch 22′. Unsurprisingly L. Frank Baum’s ‘Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ also adorns the building. The entrance to the car park has two bookbinders guarding it.
Continuing the theme of appearances being deceiving, Dubai’s Robot Car Park looks like a mechanic’s garage. The owner leaves their Lexus on the forecourt before the world’s largest car park takes over, storing the car in one of 765 car parking lots hidden behind the unpretentious front. It deals with more than 250 cars each hour and is one of the most expensive car parking ventures ever built.
The Robot Car Park is situated very close to Battuta Gate close to the hotel in Dubai of the same name. The United Arab Emirates are one of the leading proponents in architectural design across the Middle East, funded by the gas and oil supplies which have made the kingdom one of the wealthiest places to live in the world.
Greenway Self Park in Chicago is unique in the fact that it takes what Chicago is famous for – wind – and uses it to its advantage. The building is actually powered by the wind thanks to a couple of corkscrew and wind turbines which wind their way up from street level to the roof.
It is not just outdoors where the environmental theme continues as electric cars that use the garage for their parking space can be charged up via electric charging stations. These charging stations are partly run on the harvested wind energy from the wind turbines which are situated on the car park’s roof.
To many people, Sweden is best represented by its famous car, the Volvo. It is safe, functional and willing to use and improve blueprints of an existing design, a lot like Gothenburg’s Parkeringsbat. Translated as ‘Parking Boat’, the Parkeringsbat is a Korean barge with a car park bolted onto the top. Set on the waterfront at Gothenburg harbour, the 400-capacity car park blends in with the Swedish west coast city.
When fully loaded the barge only dips a few feet further below the water level and the boat is still active. This means that it can be transported to different areas of the city depending on the volume of traffic affecting Gothenburg.
One of the more regular styles of car park which have cropped up across Europe over the past decade have been the Smart Towers, whose primary aim has been to host Smart cars in storage before they are released to the public. The Smart Towers have appeared in over 70 locations across the continent and are there to primarily show off its car namesake.
The home of the Smart car is the Smartville factory which has its headquarters in the Alsace-Lorraine town of Hambach in eastern France. The car has transferable parts and like the car park itself, is small and stylish enough to fit in with its surroundings, no matter where it is parked.
No car parking list could exist without an entry from Japan. The Umi-hotaru car park literally translates as ‘sea firefly’ and is visited by tourists who may drive their Toyota or Subaru to the island because of the amazing sea views. The car park is renowned for the fact that it is built on water as part of the aqua-line motorway in the Tokyo Bay area.
The island car park also serves as a connecting link for an underwater tunnel which transports the motorist to Kawasaki City. The road actually starts from Kisarazu which is on the opposite side of the bay from Tokyo, with the tunnel emerging at the port of Kawaski City before continuing into Tokyo.