Park n’ Play: Garage Doubles as Public Recreation Space

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Parking garages tend to be eyesores, essentially serving as monuments to car culture as they take up valuable space in cramped cities. But what if they could be more useful than that – and even downright beautiful? JAJA Architects envisions an award-winning facility for a new development area of Nordhavn in Copenhagen that manages to house plenty of cars while also offering up a rooftop park, vertical greenery and visuals that fit in with the character of the neighborhood.

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The Park n’ Play concept disguises a fully functional parking garage in a stacked concrete volume incorporating staggered planting boxes for shrubs, trees and climbing vines, effectively shielding the cars from view. Decorated in murals that depict the area’s industrial history, the building’s red coloring pays homage to the historic red brick harbor buildings found in this ‘Red Neighborhood.’

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The zig-zagging mural takes visitors from street level to the rooftop park, which includes a reflecting pond, swingsets, climbing sculptures and architectural elements like fencing and plants. The placement of the plant boxes on the exterior follow the grid of the parking levels, emphasizing its geometry.

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This interactivity makes the Park n’ Play both a garage for people visiting other parts of the neighborhood and a destination in itself, preserving the space for local residents and adding to the beauty of the area.