The client, at the request of the municipality, required “a parking garage that doesn’t look like a parking garage.” Complicating matters was the necessity for a phased project: first phase parking; second phase vertical expansion to parking; third phase either office or residential, depending on demand. Inherent in this set of constraints is an even bigger concern- how to make one-third of a development look and feel complete in the initial phase.
Overall massing for the entire project was conceived of as a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle- a jenga game of blocks of related, but different program uses, defined by different skins and scales, and designed to acknowledge the different phases. To make phase 1 appear complete, four different exterior envelope cladding systems were used, animating all exposures, without leaving any large surfaces “blank”. The scale and vertical orientation of the panels and fins are suggestive of the window module of an occupied office building, not of a precast parking deck. The light reflective coloration and variety of the cladding systems takes the curse off the well-deserved reputation of parking garages as dark, dismal and uninviting structures of necessity. The four exterior envelope systems effectively modulate the scale of this large, simply programmed building, and will be used in phase 2 and 3 as well.