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Architecture Preserves Landscape

No more ordinary parking lots!
(+2, -2)
  [vote for,

Some people will say that this idea is already baked, but that is only partly true. Sure, in places like New York City we already find architectural implementations of this idea, but not to the extent as is being suggested here. Huge numbers of New Yorkers do not bother to own cars, remember.

Basically, every building should always be designed so that the lower floors hold parking spaces. There should be enough floors of parking to accommodate all workers and visitors in the upper floors of that building. Probably there should even be elevators devoted to lifiting cars to the higher parking levels. No building should ever need to have associated with it an adjacent building devoted only to parking spaces (including personal residences).

The advantage to the idea is that all those square miles of landscape in every city that are now covered with parking lots can be allowed to re-forest. Also, just because the space seems to be available, buildings should NOT be spaced more closely than before. Think about it. If you drive by a row of 100- storey buildings, each of which has 20 floors (or however-many needed) for parking, what are you going to think of the traffic trying to enter and leave those buildings? Keeping the buildings spaced apart reduces the traffic congestion! (And of course the people in the buildings will have a better view, not being surrounded by neighboring buildings.)

So this idea allows us to have pretty dense cities, and yet co- exist with Nature a little better than we do now.

One variation on this theme is to design every floor of a building so that it can potentially become parking space. The structural foundations and skeleton can be designed to support 500 floors, maybe, but at first maybe only 50 floors would be built. The topmost area can be weather-sealed, and the building can open for business. When funds become available, new construction can simply add more floors. Then businesses in the building relocate to higher floors, and the lowest of the former-office-floors will be converted to handle more parking. The new, taller building can then meet the requirement to have enough parking for all occupants. Later, the cycle can repeat, until the ultimate design-height for the building has been reached.

P.S. I already know that some new elevator designs are going to be necessary to make certain aspects of this idea work. I also have ideas about those designs, which I hope to patent. So, describing them here will have to wait. Sorry about that, folks; hope you understand.

Vernon, Apr 12 2002

(?) Arcology http://www.peagreen...arcology/images.htm
Architecture + Ecology [phoenix, Apr 12 2002]

(?) More prototypical images http://www.arcosant...g/images/index.html
[phoenix, Apr 12 2002]

Architecture Preserves http://www.halfbake...tecture_20Preserves
Inspired by a mis-reading of this idea's title. [beauxeault, Apr 12 2002]

Brasilia's Cathedral http://www.designco...scrapbook/1286.html
60s modernism, in parking lot. [hello_c, Apr 17 2002]

string-of-beads city http://www.carfree.com/topology.html
This one is designed for transit & greenspace [hello_c, Apr 17 2002]


       I really like the idea of green space, anything we can do to remove some buildings and/or pavement is great. but:   

       a)why not continue to build down? Underground parking makes the most sense and is commonly used already. It helps avoid b) the building will be that much higher, not a good thing for the skyline. c) minor consideration will have to be given to oversize vehicles that can't fit in the underground. d) if we proceed with this plan the parking should start on level two to still allow for ground level accomodations or store fronts.
rbl, Apr 12 2002

       I prefer huge domed arcologies -- have public transport (busses, trains, planes) between arcologies, and walkways/elevators within the arcology. Do away with unproductive roads and parking lots altogether, and replant with forest and meadows. (We're getting closer -- free-standing "crenospheres" can be made 1000 ft in diameter and 500 ft high, or roughly 260 million cubic feet -- three times that of the Pentagon and enough room for a medium-sized town.)
mrouse, Apr 12 2002

       allegedly the structure of the millenium dome can be built to any size but what is an arcology?
chud, Apr 12 2002

       "Arcology?" Well, that's just something that's underground . . . surely you've heard of an "arcological dig?"
bristolz, Apr 12 2002

       [bristolz] You are so bad.
phoenix, Apr 12 2002

       Since added cost is evidently not an issue, putting the cars on the top floors instead of the lower floors would be safer in instances of fire and terrorist-driven airplanes.
beauxeault, Apr 12 2002

       Yeah, what phoenix said :) Thanks for the links.   

       BTW, the Millenium Dome is fabric, a "crenosphere" (look at www.monolithic.com) is self-supporting reinforced concrete dome. Both domes are cool, they just serve different purposes.
mrouse, Apr 12 2002

       rbl, building down is usually necessary with respect to installing the foundations of the building. I'm not sure I'd favor lots of parking down there, because of ventilation problems (have to avoid carbon monoxide buildup). Then there is the water table to worry about in most places, and the general dislike that people have about being stuck underground, with no direct sunlight. However, the underground areas have proven in the past to be good places to put building-system machinery such as air conditioning, security HQ, electrical and telecom switching centers, etc.   

       beauxeault, the "people who rise to the top" want to do so literally. That is why penthouse suites are always the most extravagant and expensive. They will never be happy knowing that mere automobiles rate higher than themselves. Besides, if the building is weakened in whatever fashion, do you really want all those floors full of CARS over your head? Finally, buildings CAN be designed to handle the stuff that was dished out on Sept 11. If one of those jets had instead gone into the Empire State Building, that structure would probably still be standing, even if the top 30 floors were burnt to a crisp. (A rather overengineered building, that one is.)
Vernon, Apr 13 2002

       What a terrible idea. Lower floors are what I walk past as a pedestrian; I can think of few things more boring than parking spaces. Give me shops, arcades, windows to look into, not this metal wasteland.
jutta, Apr 13 2002

       Yeah, and  XeveryoneX  so many people in Oz  XhasX  have a pet kangaroo.
bristolz, Apr 14 2002

       //There should be enough floors of parking to accommodate all workers and visitors in the upper floors of that building.//   

       Bad idea - everyone would just drive into the city and the roads would be gridlocked. Fewer parking spaces = fewer drivers. The ideal these days is to have as little private car traffic in city centres as possible is it not?
stupop, Apr 15 2002

       jutta, you have a good point. Perhaps a modification would be in order. For example,the cores of these buildings could be parking areas, while the exteriors could be office space (and shops space at ground level). Good ventilation of the cores will be necessary, of course. Naturally, after enough floors' cores have been dedicated to parking, all the upper floor space could still be pure office/whatever space.   

       UnaBubba, I generally favor a reduction in the use of cars, too. Perhaps all the easiest-to-occupy parking spaces in these buildings should be for motorcycles, the next-easiest for compact cars, and the most-difficult-to-access spaces be marked to accommodate gas-guzzlers.   

       stupop, you might have missed the part about where the buildings themselves should be spaced widely. That should reduce gridlock, some. (And I am reminded of another idea to post; thanks!) Also, yes, it would be nice if more people used public transportation. It would be equally nice if there was more public transportation available to be used. That's a chicken-and-egg problem that has plagued most big cities for many decades. As long as personal vehicles are perceived to be more convenient, people will prefer to continue using them. Still, ***IF*** it should happen that the actual usage of parking spaces in a given building be less than planned, then it could be reasonable to "reclaim" a parking floor or two as office space. That's the advantage of every floor being able to accommodate both types of use!
Vernon, Apr 16 2002

       I think you're approaching the design of Brasilia, which is considered a mixed success at best. Really mixed.   

       One of the problems is that putting the greenspace in chunks between buildings/parking lots increases the distance between buildings, therefore the average trip length, and therefore the number of trips that use a car. Fewer cars seen parked, more car-miles driven, no net gain. Worse, greenspace broken up into little bits can't support as much interesting biology as larger chunks of greenspace.   

       A pattern I like more is 'string of beads', with roundish towns of comfy-walk radius, surrounded by greenspace (wild or rural) and strung on a heavy-use transit; either mass transit or a freeway, with the station/exit at the center of town.
hello_c, Apr 17 2002

       That would be where THX1138 makes his happy home?   

       Buildings that are 'cool' but not pleasant to live around should be kept for VR.
hello_c, Apr 17 2002

       UnaBubba: "I am curious as to just why so many Americans feel they need a V8 motor and 2 tons of poorly designed steel and rubber to go the same distance most of the rest of the world can go with half of that bulk of vehicle, or less."   

       Somebody has to respond to the advertising industry, you see, or their self-esteem plummets and the poor dears feel so badly. It's really quite odd, though...even the motorcycles in the USA tend toward gigantism, with Suzuki's highly touted new import displacing 1500 cc.   

       But we do not need more concrete and asphalt at ground level. What we need are immense white-gloved mechanical Hands that can, through the miracle of technology, juggle a cascade of 30 or 40 cars in the air at one time! No parking space required, because the cars are all flying through the air, glinting beautifully in the sunshine, high overhead. You drive up to the Hands, get out of your car, and the Hands snatch up your vehicle and add it to the cascade. When you have finished shopping or working the Hands work your car back out of the cascade and set it down. The hydraulics of the Hands would be, as the French say, formidable.
Dog Ed, Apr 17 2002

       "My bologna has a second name, it's N-A-M-E-Y-E-R..."
waugsqueke, Apr 17 2002


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