Parking garages tend to be synonymous with suburban blight or, at best, purely functional structures that aren’t exactly attractive. But if you needed any proof that good design can rehabilitate even the ugliest structures, look no further than these examples of very pretty car parks. Some boast green features while others bend expectations of what these structures should look like.


Santa Monica Civic Centre, Santa Monica, USA

santa monic parking LEED

Photo: John McStravick/Flickr

santa monic leed parking

Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr

This LEED-certified, six-storey garage is so popular its fans have taken to praising it on Yelp. Architect Moore Ruble Yudell designed the building, which features photovoltaic panels that provide energy for the building.

Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany


Photo: Sven Wrage/Flickr

autostadt germany

Photo: Infinite Ache/Flickr

These two car towers house 400 automobiles each. A glass observation deck on the 20th floor provides panoramic views over the city and the Autostadt, Volkswagen’s production facility.

Former Michigan Theatre, Detroit, USA

detroit theatre parking

Photo: Bob Jagendorf/Flickr

Detroit Parking Theatre

Photo: grabadonut/Flickr

parking theatre Detroit

Photo: Bob Julius/Flickr

Though not a parking lot by design, we thought we’d include this former, faded Beaux Arts theatre that is now used for parking.

111 Lincoln Road, Miami, USA

miami 111 lincoln parking

Photo: Forgemind ArchiMedia/Flickr

111 Lincoln parking miami

Photo: Forgemind ArchiMedia/Flickr

The Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron designed this South Beach structure which is home to a number of retail operations at street level and a glass enclosed fashion boutique on the fifth floor. The architects have likened the open-air garage to a house of cards.

Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, USA

santa monica place Photo: Omar Bárcena/Flickr

santa monica parking place Photo: Omar Bárcena/Flickr

santa monica place parking mall

Photo: rocor/Flickr

Another standout Santa Monica structure, the building is a companion to a Frank Gehry-designed mall that was recently overhauled into an open-air shopping centre. Brooks + Scarpa are behind the design which is topped off with a solar panel system that generates electricity for the complex and ground-floor retail.

Valet ballet parking, Miami, USA

miami valet ballet parking

Photo: Jacqueline Poggi/Flickr

What better way to green up a car park than literally covering it with plants? This block of historic art deco facades in Miami Beach holds a five-storey parking garage within though the exterior features a series of shops at ground-level and vegetation screens above. It even netted Arquitectonica, the design firm behind the project, an award.

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