City parking lots can be eyesores, and a lot of people look at them as wasted urban space. But what if they did more than just provide a place to put your car temporarily? Designboom and Nissan paired up for a design contest that asked entrants to re-think the parking lot – could it become something more than a concrete tower? The contest was Think Outside the Parking Box, and the entries were hugely varied, from the practical (Ferris wheel-type rotating structures) to the fantastically unreasonable (airborne parking spaces suspended by balloons). Here are three of the best parking lot designs that take environmental factors into consideration.
Solasis Light Tower
This concept takes into account the fact that parked cars aren’t doing much for anyone. The Solasis Light Tower uses sunlight reflected off of the parked cars to power a large solar receptor/electric generator tower. The entire parking enclosure would be removed from the center of the city, floating in a harbor or lake on a platform that includes a lush green play area. An integrated public transportation system would carry drivers from their cars to the city center. The energy generated by the large tower would be fed into the city’s grid, making the parking structure a valuable part of the city instead of wasted space.
Technically, this isn’t a very new idea. Many parking lots already feature solar-powered electric car charging stations. But the Solarparking concept from Nejur Andrei of Romania is still a great solution for owners of electric vehicles. Parking under one of the solar panel-equipped canopies would allow drivers to charge up their cars while working or shopping, and come back to a fully-charged battery. This idea calls for the user to pay for the power they get from the charging station, which is different than most other solar charging station ideas we’ve seen so far.
The P is Green
Though we can’t be sure if the hilarious title of this design was intentional or not, The P is Green aims to clean up the urban environment. By moving parked cars underground or under overpass roads, less of the urban landscape is taken up with unsightly parking garages. The entry point for cars would be an elevator-like structure, and drivers would retrieve their cars either from street level or from a special entrance inside the building they’re in. The design also includes solar panels on top of the elevators which would provide power for streetlights.