Designing for the Future: Adaptable Garages
In Los Angeles, up to 14 percent of all land is devoted to parking (per SCAG data 3.3 parking spaces for every registered car). Vast parking lots, or behemoth above grade parking structures, are occupying desirable real estate downtown – land that could be used for more offices, retail, or housing.
In the future, studies foresee fewer vehicles needing to be parked due to shared vehicle use and transit. But that memo hasn’t gotten to cities that continue to mandate outrageous parking minimums. This prompted Gerhard W. Mayer, principal of GGLO’s L.A. office, to share an adaptable garage prototype with local Southern California city leaders and developers alike. GGLO designed an adaptable structure that would begin its service being used 100% for parking cars, but allow for an easy transition over time to housing, creative office or retail, as parking needs drop off.
Mayer stresses several details that would allow for this adaptability: raising floor heights; making floors level and designing for proper amenities like utility hookups in anticipation for future new uses; and creating parking configurations that can be easily changed, thus freeing up floor space for people serving functions.
With cutting edge autonomous parking technology, modern alternative garages are possible – the utilization for car storage is immediately 40-60% more efficient than a conventional garage. Best of all, since the more efficient structure is significantly smaller, the lower construction cost for these buildings compensates for the required technology in a total package that is often less expensive than a conventional garage.