Here in the United States, we’re only starting to kick the habit of designing cities around cars. But in Leiden, Netherlands, designers were asked to build a parking garage that would last between 10 and 20 years — after that, the land will go back to the city for redevelopment. The temporary structure will use recyclable, sustainable, and nature-mimicking materials.
The final design, by Paul de Ruiter Architects, won in an online poll that allowed neighbors to choose between three finalists. The exterior consists partially of semi-transparent cloth that maximizes visibility inside the garage and provides a view of the surroundings. It’s made of sustainably-manufactured fibers, and from the outside it suggests leaf cover.
The garage also incorporates energy-efficient technology. Its ventilation will be natural, rather than mechanical, and the attendant’s cabin will be kept warm with a heat recovery system. The ramps are low-grade so they won’t have to be heated to remove ice in the wintertime.
The structure — which will be completed at the end of this year — will use recyclable materials, so at the end of its 10-to-20-year lease, the garage can be carted off and given a second life. And so can the space. Now that’s taking kicking the driving habit seriously.