Parking garages are great. They are a simple, compact way of dealing with the problem of space for automobiles in urban or congested areas. Functionally, they work well, mostly. In design terms, they suck. Unless they’re sequestered into the middle floors of a highrise or they’re underground…they are usually ugly, awkward spaces that have no useful street frontage other than for people to smoke near. This is a problem because…people like active spaces, and even a block or half-block of “dead” parking garage frontage can hurt a streetscape and hurt the other operators on that street.
In Miami, a new type of parking structure has sprung. Worldly architecture firm Herzog & deMeuron questioned all of the conventions associated with parking garages and blew them apart…to come up with 1111 Lincoln Road. On the ground floor, which faces pedestrian shopping corridor Lincoln Road, there are a handful of high-end boutique stores: Y-3, Taschen, Coltorti, Journelle, MAC Cosmetics, Nespresso, Juicy Couture, Osklen, Inkanta, and Artsee eyewear. My personal favorite was Y-3…full of beautiful cut and colored sportswear…one of my favorite market segments of the luxury industry. Also bookending the retail are several food and beverage establishments, including Miami’s outpost of the Shake Shack.
Above the retail and restaurants are the cars. There are no exterior walls, only interior supporting beams, floors, and ramps. It is a beautiful, seemingly-unfinished product that draws you to its well-lit levels at night. More photos here and here.
The truly remarQable (lol) thing about the space is it’s space! It’s such a great, airy, modern structure that people are using it as event space for gallery openings, fashion shows, and weddings! Here is a write-up from the New York Times in January detailing its multi-use abilities.
We need more outside-the-box thinking like this. Granted, it probably cost far more than the typical parking garage…but innovation and inspiration is the fuel for the future…not status quo…
An attractive parking garage, what a concept! Now all they need to do is work on the lighting.