10 Amazing Modern Parking Structures Across the US


Parking Garages That You Won’t Believe!

We know better than anyone that parking garages aren’t always the most exciting of places. They serve an important purpose, sure, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without ‘em, but they sometimes get a bad rap for being gray, uninteresting and generally uninspiring. You may not have even paid a passing thought about your favourite parking lot...until now!

Looking4.com has been on a quest to find parking garages that add something to their environment, rather than take something away. We’ve singled out 10 parking lots that serve as beautiful works of art in their respective neighborhoods, and we asked you to help us pick the best of the best.

Take a look at the entrants below for the coolest parking lot in America.


The USA's coolest parking lots can now be revealed after thousands of people voted for their favourite in the 2019 THE 10 COOLEST PARKING LOTS IN THE USA competition.

Aimed to celebrate creativity and design in buildings that can often perceived as dull and dreary, people from around the world voted from a shortlist of entries. The shortlist was compiled by Looking4.com, the world’s leading comparison brand for airport parking, and acclaimed architecture and design publication, Architizer!

Congratulations to the winners and those who made the shortlist! Here's the Top 3!

1: Sinking Ship by Mandeville and Berge, Seattle, Washington (1961)

2: Michigan Theatre by Rapp and Rapp, Detroit, Michigan (1925)

3: Helix Garage by POHL ROSA POHL architecture+design, Lexington, Kentucky (2014)

The final votes have been tallied the top three Coolest Parking Spots in the U.S. have been named

This summer, Looking4.com and Architizer merged their expertise in parking and architecture, encouraging Americans to show their hometown pride and celebrate the architects who’ve turned parking into a work of art as they cast votes for their favorite parking structure in the “10 Coolest Parking Spots in the US” contest.

Selected based on factors including sustainability, historical elements and artistic design, the most innovative and original parking garages from around the country went head to head with Detroit’s Michigan Theatre, Lexington’s Helix Garage and Seattle’s Sinking Ship ultimately landing the top three winning spots.

Details on the top three “coolest” parking structures as chosen by America can be found below!

Sinking Ship by Mandeville and Berge, Seattle, Washington (1961)

After the historic Seattle Hotel was demolished in the ‘60s, the iconic Sinking Ship parking garage rose in its place. This architectural feat plays with the natural hills in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood to create the illusion of a sinking ship. Though there was pushback at the time of the Seattle Hotel’s demolition, Seattleites have come to love this quirky addition to their city and with this parking garage being built on the bones of the classic 1890s hotel, there are even rumors of the site being haunted.

Michigan Theatre by Rapp and Rapp, Detroit, Michigan (1925)

While the outside of the Michigan Theatre is unassuming, the interior incorporates the magnificent historical arches and ornate designs of the original construction, which was an opulent 4,000 seat theatre built in 1928. The grand interior was nearly demolished after the theatre was driven out of business by the popularization of home television sets and in 1975 the property was abandoned and scheduled to be torn down. Upon inspection, workers realized that the structure of the theatre was integral in the support of the neighboring building, so instead of demolishing it, they decided to repurpose the space into an extravagantly beautiful parking garage near the city’s downtown.

Helix Garage by POHL ROSA POHL architecture+design, Lexington, Kentucky (2014)

After a complete structural renovation, Pohl Rosa Pohl was tasked with adding an engaging, artistic element to the plain façade of the parking garage. The Helix Garage now features three layers of steel panels suspended on a vertical steel scaffold, which create a unique depth to the face of the structure. At night, these steel panels illuminate the street with colored LED lights that create a bright, artistic addition to Main Street, while still complying with the city’s sustainability initiatives. Usually, the lights shift between colors all night, but for holidays and special occasions, the they reflect the public spirit.


City View Garage

  • Architect: IwamotoScott Architecture
  • Location: Miami, Florida
  • Year: 2015
Head along the I195 near the Design District and you won’t be able to miss City View Garage’s mind-bending facade. The attention-grabbing building fits right in with the area already known for its sleek modern architecture, and its high visibility makes it the perfect advertisement for the area.

Functional as well as fashionable, the facade’s modulated metal screen contains folded aluminum apertures of varying sizes, allowing for natural airflow and eliminating the need for mechanical ventilation.

The City View Garage earns its place on this list for its attractive gradient coloration and unique suspended fin design.

Mission Bay Parking Structure

  • Architect: WRNS Studio
  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Year: 2009
We definitely get echoes of Apple with this stark white building. The huge, 7-storey structure holds 1,420 vehicles in total, and its sheer presence cannot be understated.

Doing everything it can to break through the horizon and avoid being mistaken for just another monochrome parking garage, Mission Bay’s parking lot is totally individual.

Its facets boast a dynamic quality, with each side offering the viewer something super distinct.

For instance, the south elevation contrasts SF’s beautiful sunlight with deep, dark shadows, appearing in different sizes along its plaster surface. Meanwhile, the north and east facades are covered with perforated aluminum, depicting pixelated imagery of the city’s forests.

Every time you check this parking lot out, you’ll get to see something new.

Helix Garage

  • Architect: Pohl Rosa Pohl
  • Location: Lexington, Kentucky
  • Year: 2014
This multi-storey parking garage has actually been around since before we landed on the moon, but it wasn’t until Pohl Rosa Pohl got involved in 2014 that it was transformed into something truly special.

Lexington Parking Authority knew that the space needed major structural renovations, but instead of doing the bare minimum and then going home for the day, they saw it as an opportunity to give the building a serious facelift.

After the structural issues were taken care of, PRP installed a vertical scaffold and suspended three layers of perforated steel panels from it, adding LED backlighting to finish off the look.

The result is a wonderfully kinetic living art piece that adds some welcome color to an already impressive building.

Sinking Ship

  • Architect: Mandeville and Berge
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Year: 1961
If you scroll past this one too fast, you might think it was some sort of glitch from a video game. But if you head to Pioneer Square in Seattle, you’ll be able to see this interesting little garage with your own eyes.

Built on the site of the demolished Seattle Hotel, the Sinking Ship looks just like the bow of a boat. It appears to be bursting out from the sloping street, which gives it a sort of optical illusion quality, all adding to its mystique.

The rumour is that it was considered so ugly back in the 60s that the rest of the city’s developers vowed never to make the same mistake again, spurring on a new wave of San Francisco landmarks.

Ironically, it’s now become a landmark in itself!

Greenway Self-Park

  • Architect: HOK
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Year: 2010
The clue is in the name when it comes to Greenway, because not only is it an impressive structure, but the 11-storey parking lot is committed to being as energy efficient as it can be.

Located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood and currently pursuing LEED certification, this innovative garage puts sustainable design first and foremost, with a cistern rainwater collection system, electric car plug-in stations, and a way-finding system at each elevator lobby that educates drivers on how to live a more sustainable life.

However, the most striking thing about Greenway’s design are the vertical turbines which harness wind power as well as illuminate the facility’s exterior.

1111 Lincoln Rd.

  • Architect: Herzog & de Meuron
  • Location: Miami, Florida
  • Year: 2010
If you ever wondered what a combined parking, residential and commercial building might look like when designed by some of the most creative minds in the world, look no further than1111 Lincoln Road.

The lack of exterior walls, as well as floor heights that vary between eight and 34 feet, mean that this garage resembles a gigantic house of cards, although there’s no risk of it toppling over.

If you visit Lincoln Road yourself, you can enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of Miami, head to the seventh floor for a yoga class, art exhibition or wedding, and then perhaps you can purchase a penthouse apartment in the building complete with a pool.


10th & Wyandotte Garage

  • Architect: BNIM
  • Location: Kansas City, Missouri
  • Year: 2017
For this eye-catching structure, BNIM collaborated with local Kansas City artist, Andy Brayman. Brayman is the founder of The Matter Factory, a ceramics studio whose artists combine digital modelling with the fabrication process.

The result is typical of this kind of collaboration, with a striking pattern made up of around 600 ceramic inserts. These inserts were developed based on the materials available as part of the garage itself, and the design was inspired by fossils.

BNIM say that their goal was to make the garage beautiful from a distance as well as to the touch, and we think they’ve more than succeeded in that goal.

Michigan Theatre

  • Architect: Rapp and Rapp
  • Location: Detroit, Michigan
  • Year: 1926
The Michigan Theatre was once a 4,000-seat concert hall but now functions as the oldest parking lot on our list, as well as a bar, restaurant, and retail and office space.

Constructed during the Renaissance Revival, this high-rise was renowned for its decadence, embellished with great arched windows and 10-foot crystal chandeliers. But after it closed in 1976, the theatre was sadly left to decay.

With the interior gutted, the Bagley Acquisitions Corp. had the interesting idea to use the large space as a unique three-level, 160-space parking lot.

The site does have an automotive history, since the previous occupant was the garage where Henry Ford built his first car.

UC Davis Medical Center Parking Structure III

  • Architect: Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture
  • Location: Sacramento, California
  • Year: 2012
If you built a garage in Sacramento, wouldn’t you want to take advantage of the city’s awesome weather as well?

This seven-floor lot has an incredible 1,200 spaces and boasts advanced parking tech, individual space availability indicators, and so much glorious natural sunlight.

That’s due to a purpose-built shade screen made of 3,740 aluminum fins that are rotated at various angles to bounce light inside of the lot, creating a sense of privacy and giving it an instantly recognisable look from the outside.

T3 Parking Structure

  • Architect: Danze Blood Architects
  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Year: 2012
The parking lot of a marketing agency deserves a creative look, and Danze Blood more than lived up to expectations with the T3 Parking Structure.

It uses a combination of light, space and nature to attract the eye while maintaining that all-important protection for the vehicles stored inside.

A helical, concrete structure encased within a concrete framework serves as the focal point inside the garage, while vines draped over steel screen draw the eye of passers-by, merging the lot with the surrounding hillside.

The garage even features a planted green roof that provides a habitat for local birds and vegetation, as well as acting as a water detention basin.


Sinking Ship by Mandeville and Berge; photo by Brian Danger. 1111 Lincoln Road by Herzog & de Meuron; photograph by Robin Hill via Miami Herald. Michigan Theatre by Rapp and Rapp; photo by Robert Polidori. Additional images courtesy of the architects.

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