Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Structured Parking Gets a Makeover

Structured parking decks sometimes get a bad rap. We tend to think of these structures as utilitarian, cold and cavernous. They have long been functional eye sores, but times are changing.

Even thought the economy has put additional focus on costs and revenues, we’re more attune to environmental concerns. Good urban design is continuing to move center stage. In short, to me, parking structures are becoming more inviting.

A prime example is the new Miami Beach Parkade. The structure takes mixed-use design to a new level, weaving parking, retail and event space into a fun, airy package.

While I wish I could say some of the parking structures we have been involved with are this innovative, we’re certainly seeing changes across the board. New designs place emphasis on sustainability, technology and aesthetics.

Sustainable designs. More often, structures include features like:

  • Green walls, green roofs and shade structures
  • Solar Panels
  • LED and Induction lighting, controlled by motion sensors
  • Storm water retention and reuse
  • Heat minimizing top decks
  • Shared parking usage

Technology. Automated communication systems save drive time, reduce fuel waste and emissions. These include:

  • Signage that provides open space information to users
  • Websites showing interactive parking maps
  • Tweets, texts and emails providing parking information to users

Architectural aesthetics. We’re seeing:

  • New mixed-use design with retail and storefronts on bottom levels.
  • Retrofit of existing decks by providing storefronts, shops, etc.
  • Parking decks wrapped with office space, retail and residential, positioned on interior city blocks

How are parking structures changing in your area? 

 Image credit. 

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.