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    2.05.2010

    Parking Structure Hotel

    This is one of two hotels in the University City section of Philadelphia. It is adjacent to the two major universities, one of which is Ivy League. Does this look like what you would imagine would match the above description? No? Does it look like a parking structure? Yes! That's because it is - in part, the part that 'welcomes' their guests.
    I get it - parking structures are a necessary evil in the culture of the auto in which we've resided for the last 60 years or so. Parking structures are holding cells, dead-space, they are not active - you place your vehicle and you leave, you find your vehicle and you leave. So who thought this should be so prominent and bald. Utilitarian, certainly, but I cannot imagine that Sheraton conceives of its brand as such.

    Let us explore some approaches to parking structures.


    There are parking structure kits, it seems, as illustrated below. These are dino-sized tinker toy, assembly requires a massive crane. However, these are quick to build, and seem to have custom color options - though, I would assume all options are in the "neutral" range.


    There are disguises for parking structures. Pictured below is the woven facade of a structure. Adds considerably more visual interest than the default solid/void alternation of standard models. It isn't as colorful as some, but it is a simple and more graceful approach.

    As for the Sheraton in University City... It has some potential. To start lets break down its core form - intersecting boxes

    The entrance to the building is relatively unemphasized, it could be enhanced by reinforcing the existing intersecting boxes all while denying the parking structure-ness of the front facade. This would be the most simplistic update. The new facade could be a solid continuous surface or a perforated screen and could protrude from the current facade. Removal of the burgundy awnings and refacing of the existing concrete 'awning' with a similar material to the upper facade, as well as more linear lighting could better serve the entrance by making it more noticeable and inviting.

    There are many possibilities for this building, one could imagine aluminum ribbons (sketched below) or something as bold (garish, even) as an Escher inspired screen wrapping the entire parking structure that showed the mascots of the adjacent universities transitioning into one another.

    One of the largest parking structures in the city of Philadelphia is scheduled for a massive mural project based on the photography by J.J. Tiziou of dancers in the city. How Philly Moves will eventually grace the 50,000 sqft facade of the airport parking structures looking a bit like this:



    Both images courtesy J.J. Tiziou

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