A Parking Garage Designed Like A Go-kart Track On Steroids

We're all for pepping up parking lots—to a point.

Most architects tasked with designing a parking garage try everything this side of a Houdini act to make the cars disappear. Not so Interface Studio Architects. The Philadelphia firm has proposed building a wild, looping car park on Hong Kong’s waterfront—one that looks like a go-kart track on steroids and features "shopping, food, sports, views, and parking spaces tangled up in a kinetic rotation of animated circulation." It’s the parking garage as a wacky funhouse.

The rationale: Hong Kong has relatively few cars—just 461,000 registered in a city of 7 million. So whereas "so many cities are forced to store a massive volume of automobiles in ways that don’t negatively impact the street, Hong Kong can afford to be different," the architects say. They go on:

Hong Kong likes to wear its infrastructure on its sleeve. From the Old Airport, to richly layered pedestrian walkways, outdoor escalators, and floating water-borne neighborhoods – the city pulses with circulation, both horizontal and vertical. Unlike more typical new developments which continue to emulate western approaches to hiding cars, our proposal looks to capture new potentials for Hong Kong’s infrastructural personality by integrating the ritual of ‘the drive’ with mixed programs.

We’re all for pepping up depressing old parking lots. We also like the idea of weaving in other amenities: Garages often look like boxy fortresses, and enlivening them with assorted shops and people-centered activities makes intuitive sense (presuming the place has excellent ventilation).

The problem is that this structure seems downright wasteful. Look at the way the ramps spiral out every which way, leaving empty space in the core. You end up with a building that has a tremendous footprint, yet doesn’t deliver nearly as many parking spaces as it could. That’s inefficient whether you’re in a city with 400,000 cars or 4 million. Garages look like boxy fortresses for a reason: It’s the easiest way to pack in cars. Certainly, there are ways to improve upon that formula, but this isn’t one of them.

[See more at ArchDaily.com]

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5 Comments

  • Dlewisroy79

    don'y care what you ripped off. can you design a go kart race track indoors that leaves space to see whats going on for crazy angle that allows on lookers a unique look at the activities. if you can or have an interest in why let me know. 

  • David

    It's a complete ripoff of the Zaha Hadid designed parking garage for Miami Beach, and liberally borrows from the Hertzog garage there as well.

  • Patrick Durgin-Bruce

    How does one get back out? Is there an elevator core that is not shown in these renderings? Don't tell me you need to walk all the way back down the spiral...

  • Slab

    Plus, it also looks like you must drive all the way to the top of the garage and down again to exit.

  • Steve

    While the structure may seem wasteful, it is nice to see a parking garage that is not just a giant box.  What is not mentioned here is that on the ground floor of the garage is an athletic field and other civic spaces.  The design also works to capture storm water and send it into the landscape around the garage.

    I think it is an interesting design, and it like that the firm viewed the car as "an active urban object," something that can be shown off rather than something to be packed into a tight space and hidden away.