Is this a car parking place?
The world’s strangest car parks:
Car parks aren’t usually a top priority for architects. They often consist of no more than some tar
slapped onto a flat surface and dissected with white lines or, at the most, a bleak multi-storey maze of
But as the demands of drivers and cities change, putting ever more pressure on both the designer and
their resources, the humble car park has had to step up. The 10 parking garages assembled here all
have a fresh take on a staid concept and run the whole gamut from the brilliant to the downright
11. Hamilton Park – Singapore
The car park at this 30-storey luxury apartment block in Singapore automatically displays your car in
your living room for you. Simply drive up to the biometrically controlled lift at the base of the
Hamilton Park development, scan your thumb across the contact pad and revel in smug satisfaction as
your car is whisked up to your apartment and parked behind a glass screen where you can keep an
eye on it. It’s great if you own a Lamborghini, less so if you drive a dilapidated Nissan Micra.
10. Michigan Theatre – Detroit, US
Once a glamorous movie theatre boasting crystal chandeliers and marble sculptures, the Michigan
Theatre was destined for demolition when the developers realised it formed an integral part of
adjoining buildings, so it was relegated to a three-level car park instead. Considering it stands on the
birthplace of the first Ford model, this almost seems like destiny.
9. Autostadt CarTowers – Wolfsburg, Germany
More closely resembling grain silos than car parks these 20-floor tall CarTowers can swallow a
massive 800 cars. Located at the VW-themed Autostadt park in Wolfsburg, new customers have the
option of collecting their new set of wheels from the facility where a robotic arm picks out their
vehicle from the beehive of stored cars.
8. 1111 Lincoln Road – Miami, US
More a parking sculpture than anything else this striking car park was the brainchild of Swiss
architects Herzog & de Meuron, most famous for designing the Beijing Bird’s Nest stadium. Light, airy
and refreshingly open, the seemingly incomplete $70 million creation didn’t come cheap but proves
beyond any doubt functional needn’t be dull.
7. Eureka Tower car park – Melbourne, Australia
Serving as the parking lot to the tallest building in Melbourne, the developers of the Eureka Tower
could easily have resorted to a dull utilitarian parking garage. Instead they allowed designer Axel
Peemoeller to play around with clever graphics, which appear completely abstract and distorted but
snap into orderly alignment when you drive past.
6. Kansas City Public Library parking garage – Kansas City, US
Known locally as ‘The Community Bookshelf’ the wall of the Kansas library’s car park features 22
striking spines of well-known books, each standing approximately 25ft tall, with the two stairwells on
either end acting as bookends. While some may deride it as too theme-parkish, many laud the library
for turning a dull car park into a feature.
5. Robot Car Park – Dubai, UAE
Drive up to the car park linked to Dubai’s impressive Ibn Battuta Gate and you could be forgiven for
thinking it nothing more than a single garage. But behind its unpretentious facade hides the world’s
largest robot car park – capable of storing 765 vehicles and dealing with a staggering 250 cars an hour.
4. Parkeringsbåt – Gothenburg, Sweden
Built on top of a Korean barge, this floating parking boat’s suitable maritime design ensures it blends
right into its setting in Gotenburg’s city centre harbour. When loaded to its 400-car capacity the barge
only dips a few inches deeper below the waterline, but even more impressive is its ability to be towed
to another location if the city’s parking situation ever demanded such a move.
3. Smart Tower – Europe
Admittedly more promotional exercise than practical application, the Smart Towers found in over 70
locations throughout Europe successfully hint at the dinky car’s playful image.
2. Greenway Self Park – Chicago, US
Chicago is nicknamed the ‘Windy City’ for good reason, so the designers of Greenway car park set out
to harness the city’s gusts to help power the building. It uses giant pairs of corkscrew wind turbines
stretching from street level to its roof. To further bolster Greenway’s green appeal, some of the
harvested wind energy powers electric car charging stations inside.
1. Umi-hotaru – Tokyo, Japan
Literally translating to ‘sea firefly’, the man-made Umi-hotaru island is a tourist attraction in its own
right with many drivers heading there simply to admire the views. In addition to serving as a floating
car park for the city’s aqua-line motorway, the island also boasts cafes, shops and public art.