Every great city boasts some iconic structure, often piercing the skyline, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Boston has the Zakim Bridge, London has the London Eye, and soon Providence will have it’s own icon. This parking garage on Weybosset Street.
OK, I’m being a little silly, but putting aside for a minute that cars are evil and we should be building thousands of miles of street car lines instead of making more places for people to park, this is actually kinda cool.
From The Providence Journal:
PROVIDENCE – A Florida company is proposing what may soon be the strangest part of the Providence skyline: a pair of 13-story, translucent parking towers that operate like Ferris wheels, loading cars at the ground level and then moving them high up into the structure for storage.
The developer’s proposal envisions that at night, the towers would be “lit from inside, they will glow like beacons in the city’s nightscape.”
OK, weird, but kind of cool. I keep referring to it as the Pez Dispenser parking garage. I believe the original plan called for it to not be quite so see through, but the Planning Department suggested, and the Downcity Design Review Committee agreed that it should be see through to allow the functions of the mechanism to be apparent.
The architect, Providence’s own Friedrich St. Florian encourages people to view the structure not as a building, but as a giant machine. The machine will feature a 3-story liner building on the Weybosset Street side with ground floor retail and I assume office space in the upper floors. The tower concept is cool, but the liner building is a dud in my opinion, not St. Florian’s finest work. I think any building with a giant Pez Dispenser growing out of it should be of a modern style, but what we see so far is really blah. I’d like to find out what the DRC thought of it. They did send the developer away to come back next month for final approval.
Perhaps the most amazing part, the developer Mechanical Vertical Parking Inc. claims the machine (all 13 stories of it) will be complete in 3 months (after start of construction and after final approval by the DRC) and hopes to have it open by this summer. That seems kind of scary to me, even if it is pre-fab, 3 months?!
UrbanPlanet: PROPOSED: Weybosset Street Parking Facility