Buildings with flare add a bit of buzz to business

Volkswagen owners can collect cars from the Autostadt Car Towers in Germany with the help of an electric arm, which pulls out the car and lowers it to the ground floor. Photo / Supplied
Volkswagen owners can collect cars from the Autostadt Car Towers in Germany with the help of an electric arm, which pulls out the car and lowers it to the ground floor. Photo / Supplied

Parking your car is usually fairly mundane, but some car parks around the world are anything but.

One such unique car park is at the Michigan Theatre in Detroit.

The famous motor city is the home of cars such as the Chevrolet, produced by GM, and motor companies such as Chrysler and Ford have their headquarters nearby.

The theatre was in its heyday one of the most elegant places to watch productions, but it has suffered a decline along with the Michigan city.

It was only because the theatre was needed to keep two adjoining buildings standing that the bulldozers did not flatten it. So it was transformed into a level-three car park; quite fitting for the place that saw the creation of the first Ford model.

Volkswagen's Autostadt Car Towers in Wolfsburg, Germany, is another automotive-themed car park.

The 22-floor structure in the Autostadt complex can handle up to 800 cars.

New Volkswagen owners can collect cars from the towers with the help of an electric arm. The arm slides under the relevant car and pulls it out, lowering it to the ground floor where it can be driven out. The glass car silos are an attraction in themselves and were built with the rest of the complex at the turn of the millennium.

Next on the list is 1111 Lincoln Rd, a car park in Miami, USA. The design was drawn up by Swiss architect firm Herzog and de Meuron, who found fame creating the Bird's Nest Stadium which was used for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The car park cost US$70 million ($87m) to build and is the de facto entrance to the pedestrian promenade in Lincoln Rd.

In Melbourne is the Eureka Tower car park, created by German Axel Peemoeller. He designed the car park to look as if it had a selection of confusing and disjointed images. But these images form signs when seen from a passing car, directing motorists where to go for parking or exiting.

The Kansas City Library parking garage has been nicknamed "the community bookshelf" for good reason. The external facade features the spines of 22 world-famous books, including such classics as Winnie the Pooh and Catch 22. Its entrance has two bookbinders guarding it.

Dubai's Robot Car Park looks like a mechanic's garage.

The owner leaves his or her vehicle on the forecourt before the world's largest car park takes over, storing the car in one of 765 car parking lots hidden behind the unpretentious front. It deals with more than 250 cars each hour and is one of the most expensive car parking ventures ever built.

Greenway Self Park in Chicago takes what Chicago is famous for - wind - and uses it to its advantage as the building is powered corkscrew and wind turbines. Electric cars that park there can be charged up via charging stations. These charging stations are partly run on the harvested wind energy from the wind turbines on the car park's roof.

The Parkeringsbat, or "Parking Boat", in Sweden is a Korean barge with a car park bolted on to the top.

Set on the waterfront at Gothenburg harbour, the 400-capacity car park blends in with the Swedish west coast city. When fully loaded the barge dips only a few feet further below the water level and the boat is still active. This means it can be transported to different areas of the city depending on the volume of traffic affecting Gothenburg.

One of the more regular styles of car park which has cropped up across Europe over the past decade has been the Smart Towers, whose primary aim has been to host Smart cars in storage before they are released to the public. The Smart Towers have appeared in over 70 locations across the continent and are there to primarily show off its car namesake.

The home of the Smart car is the Smartville factory, which has its headquarters in the Alsace-Lorraine town of Hambach in eastern France. The car has transferable parts and, like the car park itself, is small and stylish enough to fit in with its surroundings, no matter where it is parked.

No car parking list could exist without an entry from Japan. The Umi-hotaru car park literally translates as "sea firefly" and is visited by tourists who may drive their vehicle to the island because of the amazing sea views. The car park is renowned for the fact that it is built on water as part of the aqua-line motorway in the Tokyo Bay area.

The island car park also serves as a connecting link for an underwater tunnel which transports the motorist to Kawasaki City. The road actually starts from Kisarazu, on the opposite side of the bay from Tokyo, with the tunnel emerging at the port of Kawasaki before continuing into Tokyo.

- NZ Herald

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