Car parks come in all shapes and sizes. Drivers love free car parks and shun chargeable car parks. But people who live in urban areas can’t avoid them. Car parks are not exactly noted for their architectural merit generally, in fact most car parks are concrete blocks placed in shopping areas. However, there are beautiful and creative car parks that go against the norm of boring grey concrete and these are the top ten best car parks in the world.
Michigan Theatre, Detroit, US
Constructed in 1925, the Michigan theatre now contains offices and a car park. The theatre was designed by Rapp and Rapp and cost $5 million to construct. Originally used as a concert hall, the theatre was also used as a cinema and nightclub throughout its existence. At its height the theatre hosted the Marx Brothers and Bob Hope. After ceasing operations in 1976, the theatre then became a car park to accommodate the office tenants. Much of the original ornate plaster ceiling is still intact, along with the mezzanine, balcony foyers and staircases. In a sense of irony, the theatre is actually built on the same site where Henry Ford built his first automobile.
Ballet Valet parking garage, Miami, US
Built in 1995, the Ballet Valet parking garage uses greenery to cover the boring concrete outline of the car park allowing it to blend in with its lush surroundings. The car park was designed by Arquitectonica in a venture between developer Tony Goldman and the city of Miami.
Eureka Tower, Melbourne, Australia
At least at Eureka Tower you will definitely not get lost, even if it is noted as the tallest building in Melbourne. Eureka Tower’s car park features colourful designs and massive instructions to help you on your journey. You probably won’t miss the exit signs or up signs. It is definitely a different experience to any other car park in the world.
Charles Street car park, Sheffield, UK
Nicknamed "cheese grater" due to its jagged appearance, the Charles Street car park in Sheffield is multi-storey and made from steel. The car park was first opened in 2008. The cheese grater was designed by architects Allies and Morrison.
Marina City Towers, Chicago, US
Definitely not for the faint-hearted, the Marina City Towers are two round towers standing at 65 storeys high utilised for commercial as well as residential use. Nineteen floors of the exposed towers are used for parking, with 996 parking spaces per building. Thankfully the towers run a valet service.
Car Park Plaza, Cajnovas, Spain
Designed by architect Teresa Sapey Estudio de Arquietectura, the Car Park Plaza was created to be fun and yet practical. The exterior of the car park features bright colourful colours, while the interior featured graphics to guide the driver and had low neon lights to reduce power consumption.
Millennium Point, Birmingham, UK
If you are renowned for losing your car park, this car park is for you. Constructed in 2001, the Millennium Point was created by Mark Sloane. The cuboid car park glows in the dark and changes colours throughout the night.
Car Towers, Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany
The car towers at Autostadt are used to store new Volkswagen cars. Standing at 200ft tall, the two car towers are connected to the Volkswagen factory with newly constructed cars being lifted at 1.5 metres per second from below ground level. The whole system means that when a customer decides to pick up a brand new car from the Autostadt the car’s odometer still read as 0.
Kansas City Public Library car park, Missouri, US
Perfect for lovers of literature, the Kansas City Public Library car park is adorned by 22 spines of classic literature nominated by the public. The car park also features two metal staircases that act as bookends.
Hamilton Parks, Singapore
Residents in Singapore’s Hamilton Parks flats costing £6 million to £15 million park their supercars in en suite garages. The cars are lifted up from a main road via a biometrically-controlled lift.