Gensler – an LA architecture office has proposed a garage of the future which transforms underground and overground parking spaces into a housing complex with a gym, a theater, shops, restaurants and apartments.
The modification of empty garages and bringing new life into these spaces has been a visible urban movement in the past few years. In London, a community hub was created in an abandoned garage in Peckham, Nathalie Harb incorporated popup parks on top of individual parking spaces in Beirut and in Tokyo, a concept store with some of the hottest brands emerged in an underground parking garage.
Due to a rise of driverless vehicles and decline in car ownership, parking garages in many western cities are becoming derelict. Many see these empty spaces as opportunities to create something different by bringing new life into the vacant lots. Gensler drafted a fictional LA cultural center ‘the MOD’ which shows how parking garages can be reclaimed as public and/or private space.
The MOD would allow for a transition from a place that serves cars to one that also serves people, in multiple ways. The floors of such structure would be raised and enough space added between different functions on the building. The modular sections can make walls and ceilings removable which would bring light between levels. The garage would not only have apartments but also facilities such as a gym, theater, shops, restaurants, and many more.
Gensler has already completed similar projects including a 2016 parking lot conversion in Cincinnati, Ohio, where three levels of parking were transformed into office space, named 84.51°. The conversion still includes parking spots for cars and combines them into one building with working areas in a coherent and utilitarian whole. The CEO of Gensler, Andy Cohen believes in a shared, autonomous future of cities, and works with architects, designers and urbanists all over the USA to develop new ideas and possibilities for using and re-using space in cities to reach its full potential.