Greg & Colin Thornton

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Who knew architectural appreciation extended to parking facilities? What might surprise you more is that a list compiled by Britain’s FX Magazine and Stress Free Airport Parking has named a Vancouver parkade as among the 10 “coolest” in the world.

After a worldwide competition that called for the submission of entries, Cordova Parkade has made it to the shortlist of the world’s coolest parkades and it is also the only Canadian facility to be named:

  • Michigan Theatre, Detroit, USA 
  • Veranda Car Park, Rotterdam
  • Charles Street, Sheffield
  • 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami
  • Cordova Parkade, Vancouver
  • Car Park Plaza, Cajnovas, Spain
  • Ballet Valet Parking Garage, Miami
  • Eureka Tower Car Park, Melbourne
  • Parc des Celestins, Lyon
  • Millennium Point, Birmingham

Cordova Parkade was built in 2004 for $28-million and was part of the City of Vancouver’s plan to revitalize the Downtown Eastside. Designed by Vancouver’s very own Henriquez Partners Architects, the project is described in the following way:

The Gastown Parkades—set among examples of Victorian Italianate and Edwardian Commercial style buildings in the historic heart of Vancouver—consist of two mid-block concrete structures separated by Trounce Alley. One is on Water Street, Gastown’s main thoroughfare, and the other is on Cordova Street, across from the Woodward’s Redevelopment. Bridging the values of the past and the needs of the future, Henriquez Partners Architects aimed to preserve streetscape continuity while respecting Gastown’s unique historic identity.

Sensitive to the area’s turn-of-the century surroundings, but due to the lack of 19th-century models of parking structures, Henriquez Partners’ design intent was to develop a modern architectural vernacular drawing inspiration from the heritage context. Retail uses at grade are located at the Water Street Parkade to stimulate street-level activity and new office space inserted into the front of the existing structure provides streetscape continuity and “eyes on the street.” Stair towers hang from the façade, designed to evoke the neighbourhood’s fire escapes, while an intricate lattice of granite and steel inspired by 19th-century train stations screen the parking space.




Images: HT Celebration

Gastown Parkade

Image: Neil Blake

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