Plants, Gnomes and Parking Spots – MEI’s wonderful parking structure

Block 11 Parking Structure by MEI Architecture

Block 11 Parking Structure by MEI Architecture

Block 11 Parking Structure by MEI Architecture

It might sound strange to say that parking garages can be wonderful things, but this parking garage certainly seems wonderful. Designed by MEI, this particular parking structure lives in Almere, a city in the Netherlands with an embarrassingly long list of remarkable structures. What’s wonderful about a parking garage? For starters, garages reduce the footprint that parking stomps into cities. Land that would otherwise become a desert of asphalt and empty cars can become something better, even if it’s just a patch of grass. Folks in warmer climates will appreciate the shade that garages provide, and folks in colder climates can appreciate shelter from the snow.

But parking garages are ugly. Many parking garages wear a sad kind of camouflage: some to disguise their sloping floors and others to obscure their function. This garage in Almere is the first I’ve ever seen with a pattern of garden gnomes on the exterior.  I guess the gnomes are there to look after the plants that protrude from the facade. Besides being one of the funnier parking garages, the skin has a diaphanous quality that almost makes the entire thing elegant. So I hope you can agree that even if this structure isn’t exactly elegant, it is at least wonderful.

Found through Contemporist

Alex Dent

February 27, 2012 / By