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Ahead of the Curb: Innovative Concepts Drive Top Parking Designs

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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Whoever thought a parking garage could make a “green” statement?

Better yet, whoever thought a “parking” facility could be dedicated to non-motorized, two-wheeled vehicles, as in bicycles.

But these parking structures aren’t your father’s or grandfather’s gray, ponderous, concrete caverns looming high above the boulevards and sidewalks of grimy urban settings—garages posturing as utilitarian examples of Brutalist architecture.

No, they are among the winners of the International Parking Institute’s 2012 Awards of Excellence for parking facilities and operations, recognizing innovation, efficiency, sustainability, and user friendliness.

Announced during the Parking Institute’s 2012 Conference & Expo in Phoenix, the award winners in the 30th annual competition included a garage associated with a major sports franchise, an intermodal transit facility that encourages residents to use alternative types of transportation, and a LEED Gold-certified airport parking facility that serves as a teaching model of sustainable building and management practices.

You heard right: Parking as a teaching model on sustainability.
“The 2012 winners exemplify the fact that our industry is no longer just about parking cars; it's about being part of transportation solutions, relieving traffic congestion, taking a leadership role in reducing our carbon footprint and so much more,” said Parking Institute Executive Director Shawn Conrad.

“We have a responsibility to encourage and support the use of alternative forms of transportation, from bicycles and light rail to electric vehicles, and each of our winners demonstrates that commitment. They all combine sustainability, aesthetics and efficient technology and support the concept that 'getting from here to there' should be a good experience.”

Award categories included architectural achievement; best design of parking facilities with fewer than and more than 800 spaces; best rehabilitation/restoration; innovation in parking operation or programs; and sustainable parking/transportation program or operations.

Two new categories were added this year: best design/implementation of a surface parking lot, and sustainable parking and transportation design excellence.

Winners were selected by a panel of judges representing architects, parking corporations, and city, airport and university officials.

The projects receiving top honors are described in the following summaries. More details are available at Parking Institute Awards of Excellence.

Award for Architectural Achievement: GEICO Garage, Orlando, Fla.

Visually appealing, user-friendly and energy-efficient, the 1,876-space GEICO Garage at Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic, is a stunning example of form and function. Perforated aluminum panels on the exterior mimic the nearby Events Center, and a façade of shifting textures, color and scale creates framed vistas of the city.

 GEICO garage

 Photos courtesy of International Parking Institute

Users navigate rapidly to spaces on eight levels via a system that accepts multiple forms of payment and messaging that directs them to available parking. Clear pedestrian pathways, well-defined entry/exits with international and variable messages, high-efficiency lighting, and a climate-controlled pedestrian bridge make wayfinding simple, fast, and secure. After a large event, the facility can be emptied in just 30 minutes. The garage earned LEED Gold certification.

Project team:
C.T. Hsu + Associates, P.A., architect
PCL Construction Services, Inc., design-builder
Walker Parking Consultants, parking consultant and engineer
Orlando Magic

Best Design of a Parking Facility with Fewer than 800 Spaces: Intermodal Transit Facility, City of Hillsboro, Ore.

A joint project of the city, hospital and university, the Intermodal Transit Facility (ITF) features a 260,000-square-foot design that meets the diverse needs of hospital and university staff, patients, daily commuters, and short-term parkers.

Intermodal Transit Facility Rooftop Solar Array

With convenient access to the adjacent light-rail commuter line and bus routes, an innovative ground-floor bike station, free parking on five levels, and 14 level II electric vehicle charging stations, the ITF encourages residents to use alternative modes of transportation. Sustainable features include a 60kW rooftop solar array that powers the facility (including efficient LED light fixtures) on sunny days, a system that diverts rainwater into elegantly landscaped storm-detention areas in the public plaza, and a block-long pervious concrete alley that conserves groundwater.

Project team:
LRS Architects, Inc., architect
WHPacific, Inc., civil engineering and landscape architecture
Skanska USA Building, design-build contractor
Catena Consulting Engineers, structural engineer
Tuality Healthcare, partner
Pacific University, partner

Best Design of a Parking Facility with More than 800 Spaces: Duke University Research Drive Parking Garage, Durham, N.C.

The 1,900-space, seven-story Research Drive Garage is reported to be the first stand-alone parking structure to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Research Drive Garage

The facility's intuitive, functional design includes an exterior express ramp, flat floor plates with great flow capacity, unobstructed internal views, and enhanced security. Green growing walls designate entry/exit locations with automatic vehicle identification (AVI) technology for regular users. The garage's dual-purpose architecture blends with surrounding buildings and incorporates green walls/roof canopies, terra cotta and stone panels, and landscaped rain gardens.

Project team:
RATIO Architects, design architect and landscaping
Walker Parking Consultants, architect of record, parking consultant and structural engineer
Lend Lease, Inc., construction manager and general contractor
Stewart Engineering, design consultant

Best Design/Implementation of a Surface Parking Lot: 573 Gerrard Street East with Zhong Hua Men Archway, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Toronto Parking Authority

Marked by Toronto’s only traditional Chinese archway, the 43-space Toronto Parking Authority surface parking facility was redeveloped to include the Zhong Hua Men Archway.

Zhong Hua Men Archway

This gateway to Toronto's East Chinatown was constructed to symbolize Chinese contributions to Canada, and includes a tribute to the 17,000 workers who built the transnational railway. it functions as a catalyst to raise cultural and economic awareness, and encourage the area's development.

Project Team:
Louis K.C. Cheung Architect Inc., architect
Dale Cheung, chief designer, chairman, Archway Organizing Committee
City of Toronto, Economic Development & Culture
Chinese Chamber of Commerce
Councillor Paula Fletcher, Ward 30 Toronto Danforth
The late Honourable Jack Layton, NDP Leader, MP Toronto Danforth

Innovation in a Parking Operation or Program and Sustainable Parking/Transportation Program or Operation: University of Minnesota's Bike Center and Radio Frequency Identification Program, Minneapolis

The University of Minnesota converted a few parking spaces and an unused parking ramp transit lobby into a new bike center that serves 3,000 residence-hall students and thousands of Academic Health Center employees.

University of Minnesota Bike Center

The innovative center offers secure, card-accessed, 24-hour bike parking; restrooms, showers and clothing lockers; professional and DIY repair services; a retail store; and an electronic trip-planning kiosk.

A combination of transportation-option enhancements, healthcare discounts and other incentives has increased bicycle use by university staff by nearly 14%. Commuter trips are tracked at a radio frequency identification (RFID) benefits center, verifying bicycle use via tags affixed to registered users' bicycles and receivers installed at strategic locations. The Bike Center renovation has helped the university meet its sustainability goals and reduces its physical footprint.

Project team:
Carlsen & Frank Architects, architect
Transit for Livable Communities
The Hub Bicycle Co-op

Best Parking Facility Rehabilitation or Restoration: Corcoran Parking Garage Restoration, Durham, N.C.

Transforming the dilapidated, 1960s Corcoran Garage in the performing-arts district of Durham, N.C. into a modern, durable parking facility without interrupting service was no easy feat. Significant concrete deterioration, inadequate and confusing signage, water-infiltration damage, lighting deficiencies, and non-ADA compliance were among the eyesore's numerous issues.

Corcoran Garage

Project engineers used a 3D model to determine the optimal sequencing of level closures, worked during off-hours and employed containment measures to minimize dust and abate hazardous materials. Structural restoration work included widespread concrete and brick masonry façade repairs, a comprehensive waterproofing system, uniform signage, accessibility upgrades for travel routes and stairwells, and LED light fixtures to improve public safety and appearance.

Project team:
Walter P. Moore, engineer and parking consultant
Roughton Nickelson De Luca Architects, architect
Balfour Beatty Construction, construction manager
Baker Roofing Company/Baker Restoration

Sustainable Parking and Transportation (Design): Canopy Airport Parking, Denver, Colo.

Denver International Airport's Canopy Airport Parking is a model of the energy-saving and environmentally responsible technologies that can be implemented in parking facilities, and it boasts a LEED Gold certification as proof.

Canopy Airport Parking

Canopy was constructed using sustainable materials, processes, and technologies chosen for their low carbon footprint and energy efficiency, and hosts a unique “Building that Teaches” program, with field trips and teaching seminars that illustrate sustainable building and management practices.

Project team:
dcb construction co. inc., architect and general contractor
Propark America, parking management consultant


Tagged categories: Awards and honors; Concrete coatings and treatments; Design; Parking Garages

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