Parking and Design
REG 01 - 18 - 2010

Part of the success of Dublin's urban center, in my mind, is the continuous urban facade fronting the streets. Even corner parking lots are secured behind the shell of partially deconstructed buildings, or facades made to look as so. Not only does it free up the streets from being parking lots, but it maintains building density, provides security for parked cars and concentrates pedestrian traffic to the footpaths along the facade. Applying this concept to my design for Over-the-Rhine would contribute significantly to freeing a lane for vehicles, or widening pedestrian thoroughfares. In addition, it would repurpose otherwise blighted vacant lots. Access to Barcelona's underground parking structures is integrated seamlessly into the street systems. The road dips into the parking area through a minimally invasive entrance at the edge of the median or center or side lane of the street. It allows for the streetscape to be reclaimed by people. Pedestrian walkways are wider, scaled and detailed for people, and generally take precedent over vehicular traffic. There is a clear hierarchy regarding various modes of traffic. Designated bike and transit lanes encourage reliance upon alternative modes to individual cars. Shared courtyard, mixed-use residential/commercial buildings maintain a high density and offer a variety of types of spaces. The street front remains continuous, thus creating a defined space for transient users. Corridors leading to the central courtyard are open or gated at the street, providing glimpses of serene private gardens. The garden courtyards themselves allow building users to share communal garden space. In addition, fresh air and indirect sunlight infiltrate the courtyard to enhance the quality of the space. Parking could frequently be found below the garden court. Retail on the first floor encouraged day-time activity, while apartments on the higher floors housed the residents who might frequent the ground-floor stores and markets. All in all the building typology functioned like a living organism: considering various activities and functions at all times of the day and night, as well as contained, localized amenities like parking, waste disposal and recreation/green space.

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