Define Arch

 The face of architecture is changing… it’s becoming more and more difficult to describe the role of an architect. Who are we? Designers, artists, planners, engineers, builders, landscapers, conservationists… we have probably one of the most complex job descriptions.
 Yet the spaces we design have so far been simple and stereotypical. When you say “house” a layman thinks of a dwelling unit with a shingled roof and a front lawn. When you say “office” all that comes to mind is a tall cuboid with a labyrinth of rooms inside. And a “parking lot” brings up the image of cars and more cars, located in a dark, dank space with probably no thought to what the structure looks like. How many parking lots does one remember? Of course, we as architects can name countless parking cellars that we have observed from the architectural point of view, but does there exist a parking area that makes a lasting impact on a common person’s mind?
 Can the memory of a parking area where you had to maneuver your car through a maze of columns and wait in line in the darkness for the vehicular assembly line to move ahead so you could see the light of day, be replaced by a mental picture which involves plenty of light, clean, open space, air to breathe for you and your car, no long waits, no long walks, and no obstructions? How do we go about replacing the first image with the second?
 Plus… it’s not just a parking lot. Like the Swiss Army knife, it must house many functions under one roof. In this design there may be a couple of scenarios: one in which the user comes to park their vehicle and notices a surprise inside, an additional feature; another in which the user comes solely with the reason of availing the other purpose which the parking lot serves, and discovering that the structure is indeed a multifunctional hybrid.
 From a more technical stand, why are most parking lots so dank and dirty and musty? Lack of proper ventilation, leading to requirement of more artificial lighting, which is insufficient, lack of maintenance because of requirement of high maintenance for a space which should demand the least of it, very less inter-columnar spans, improper location of columns, no proper circulation pattern, not enough space are a few of the factors to be avoided.
 We are looking at a structure which makes an immediate impact on either a passerby or a parker. A structure which shouts out the new building type – the parking lot plus – that is one of the representations of our contemporary urban cityscape. A structure which blends into the concrete jungle by claiming its own right to look like and be called a building, not just a parking lot. A structure which defies description.
This entry was published on October 2, 2005 at 13:20 and is filed under ArchiRave. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Define Arch

  1. ferhat on said:


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