Parking lots are incorporated into the essential infrastructure in many building projects. An infrastructure is typically, almost by its very nature, functional; thus, the development of parking lots follows rational and economic principles. However, parking spaces are more than just places to store vehicles, they are also spaces that facilitate arrival and departure—they bid welcome and farewell. Designed as an attractive entrance or reception area, parking lots can serve as a link between buildings and the adjacent landscape or urban setting. Groundbreaking case studies, which were designed by landscape architects rather than engineers, show that aesthetic interests and functional requirements are not a contradiction in terms. The discussion of sustainability also incorporates ecological thinking into these types of infrastructure projects. Alternative solutions that provide the benefits of water management, vegetation, shade pattern, or the reuse of materials are well known in Europe. Alternative construction methods, which can be applied in northern climates, have been tested at the University of Manitoba since 2010. Contrary to the dominant methods of surface consolidation (asphalt, concrete), alternative techniques, which allow infiltration of precipitation, are also being explored. Consequently, this design approach contributes to passive flood prevention, reduces pressure on stormwater sewers, and minimizes the enrichment of groundwater. The mostly green appearance of alternative surfaces is also a visual statement that will raise environmental awareness of this innovative approach. Based on comprehensive research, the goal of the research project is to develop successful construction methods and to market alternative ways to construct arenas for parking and more. The integration of experiential, ecological, and functional aspects of parking one’s vehicle converts an everyday space into an ecological and aesthetic adventure. Well-designed parking spaces will entangle individuals into an ecological narrative, which could end up being as exciting as a love story.
|Keywords:||Parking Lots-design and Construction, Experiential, Ecological and Functional Aspects of Parking, Alternative Surface Consolidation in Northern Climates, Parking and More|
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada