According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 105 million commercial parking spaces in the U.S. And since those numbers show no signs of waning as cities and suburbs welcome new residents and businesses every day, the demand for parking facilities has increased accordingly.
A functional necessity, parking garages have long been relegated to cold, dark utilitarian background structures with little – if any – consideration given to any design – until now.
Parking Garage Aesthetics
Today, many cities are encouraging the enhancement or even requiring aesthetic designs for parking structures, moving away from the stand-alone, single-purpose structures of the past. This approach helps to ensure that the parking facility is more visually and functionally integrated with its surrounding community.
In fact, Florida building code states that parking structures can’t look like parking structures so with features and benefits such as vibrant weaves, distinctive designs, durability, and ease of maintenance, architectural elements satisfy both the need for code compliance and the desire to add design elements ideal for many parking facilities.
Architectural Elements & Parking Garages
Both decorative and functional, parking structure architectural elements blend aesthetic appeal with the safety and security codes essential to the successful operation of a parking structure, including elemental advantages, safety and security benefits, and environmental sustainability.
Air Quality. Unsurprisingly, enclosed parking facilities present several indoor air quality problems, such as high levels of carbon monoxide, oil, gasoline fumes, and other contaminants, such as oxides of nitrogen and smoke haze from diesel engines.
Certain architectural elements, however, such as mesh, can act as a light and durable ventilation system, reducing the need for costly HVAC systems. Further, its transparency allows an abundance of natural light and airflow.
Weather Barrier. Architectural elements also act as weather barriers, minimizing the recurring cost of snow and debris removal. Additionally, they provide shade and comfortable temperatures inside the parking facility.
Safety and Security
Prevent Personal Injury. Structural openings are possible with the use of architectural mesh which is a strong, rigid, and durable architectural element that serves to eliminate fall risks. Additionally, certain architectural elements can add extra protection when used as railings in other areas of the garage.
Fire Safety. Architectural design mesh can not only improve natural ventilation in the garage but can also serve to reduce the cost of a fire protection system.
Recycled Content. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, popularity and functionality, stainless steel, with an average recycled content of at least 60 percent, is 100 percent recyclable at the end of its use.
Minimal Environmental Impact. Stainless steel mesh façades are exceptionally durable and boast little – if any – costs for maintenance. Further, because it requires no water, chemicals, or energy to maintain, it greatly reduces any environmental impact.
Parking Garage Wayfinding
Anyone who’s navigated a parking garage – and found themselves lost – knows that parking facilities can be large, complicated, and unnecessarily confusing. A well-designed graphics and signage system, however, can effectively communicate critical wayfinding information to patrons, reducing confusion and improving safety.
Some parking structure wayfinding solutions include:
- Entry Signs
- Vehicle Signs
- Pedestrian Signs
- Regulatory Signs
- Illuminated Signs
- Level Theming
- Color coding
With architectural design elements and wayfinding considerations, parking garages can now be more aesthetically pleasing while boasting spectacular exteriors that incorporate color, texture, transparency, safety, light, and environmental consciousness.
Contact our architectural sign consultants today to learn more about incorporating architectural elements into your next project.