Parking as a public space. The car park as a potential first public space upon arriving in the city. As well as in an airport or a railway station, we think that, usually, the first impression a visitor gets when arriving in a city by car is the parking place. That’s why we intended to create a public space atmosphere, not an infrastructure one. We rejected the idea that a car park must be dark, grey and dirty after one year use. On the other side, the client defined very strict parameters concerning monthly maintenance costs and high-durability materials.
Made from 100% private funds, the project started on a public competition under administrative land concession. The work, consisting of five 320 meters long basements and a built surface of 30500 m2, was made in 18 months by means of a mine excavation system: after building the diaphragm walls, prefabricated pillars and the first slab, the rest was excavated like a tunnel, reducing the inconvenience for the neighbors and increasing safety levels.
Light as an essential material. Considering the powerful and sculptural texture of the diaphragm walls, we chose not to cover them, but to flood them with energy-efficient coloured light that gave them an unusual look. Enhancing, instead of hiding. This choice doesn’t only help the user to find his way, but it also avoids covering materials, such as paintings or brick, that get quickly worn out because of gas emissions from the cars.
Orientation. Apart from identifying the different floors by green and blue colours, control cabins were cladded by backlighted red glass, in order to get located from any point of the car park despite its length.
Durability and low maintenance. All the circulation spaces have been finished in white round ceramic vitreous tiles with black joints: a washable and hard material whose joints can’t get damaged or dirty by car gases. For the same reason, all the pavements are ceramic o epoxy-resin. The volumes of toilets and installation spaces gather together next to the staircases and have been painted in black. These walls have been labeled with the names of the different exits, hiding doors and inspection hatches and incorporating signage into architecture.
Toilets have been marked with a pictogram that creates a more pleasant environment. Inside, some mysterious voices welcome you whispering, and give you a great ovation when you finish. It is part of the show of recreating the public space.