Lots of charisma: Sheffield and Birmingham in running for city with world's coolest car park

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Detroit, Melbourne, Sheffield: who will take the honours in parking’s eqivalent of the Oscars?  Adam Sherwin tips the front-runners

Few motorists will have paused to consider the aesthetic grandeur of the multi-storey car parks which swallow up their loose change.

But drivers in Birmingham and Sheffield can at least console themselves that they are circling facilities named among the world’s top ten coolest car parks.

The multi-storey car park on Charles Street, Sheffield, nicknamed the “Cheesegrater” and Birmingham’s Millennium Point have made the shortlist of the 2013 Coolest Car Parks in the World list.

The “Cheesegrater”, created by architects Allies & Morrison, has a unique exterior design, featuring angled metal panels that resembles the kitchen utensil. The multi-faceted car park, which opened in 2008, has already received a RIBA Yorkshire award.

The Millennium Point car park boasts a design reminiscent of the brutalist architecture that was popular between the 1950s and 70s.

The British car parks are competing against Herzog & de Meuron’s spacious 2010 structure in Miami, which has played host to parties, yoga classes and weddings.

Contenders vying for the prestigious award include the Michigan Theatre in Detroit which was featured in the Eminem film 8 Mile

The theatre was opened in 1926 and slated for demolition after it closed in 1976. But engineers, fearing this could destabilise surrounding buildings, inserted a three-storey car park inside the shell instead.

The distinctive cylindrical design of the Parc des Celestins in Lyon, France, features a rotating mirror at the bottom of the central core which reflects light back up.

The competition is jointly run by FX magazine and website Stress Free Airport Parking, who have chosen car parks from all over the world. The final 10 includes entries from Melbourne and Vancouver.

Jamie Mitchell, assistant editor of FX, said: “Many people think of car parks as functional concrete blocks or as something so dull and utilitarian that they need to be hidden underground.”

“In fact, some of the world’s greatest architects, from Zaha Hadid to Herzog and de Meuron, have designed them. I haven’t been surprised by the high standard of design evident in the contenders for this competition but I have been impressed.”

British-Iraqi architect Hadid designed a spiralling, 5-storey $12.5 million parking garage at Miami Beach, near to Herzog & de Meuron’s nominated building.

Sheffield’s entry shouldn’t be discounted said Dave Greenbrown, founder of Stress Free Airport Parking and a judge. “Charles Street in Sheffield is a worthy finalist which, at first glance, many will think is a chic contemporary apartment block, not a car park,” he said.

The winner of the top car park will be named next week. 

Despite the attempt to rebrand car parks as objects of pleasure, recent figures suggest around 78 per cent of Brits spend up to £150 a month on parking.

More than half - 57 per cent - of all parking spaces in the UK charge a fee. Drivers in London face the greatest expense with charges rising to up to £12 an hour.

The World's Coolest Car Parks 2013 – shortlist:

Michigan Theatre, Detroit, USA. Architect: Rapp & Rapp

Veranda Car Park, Rotterdam. Architect: Architectenbureau Paul de Ruiter

Charles Street, Sheffield. Architect: Allies & Morrison

1111 Lincoln Road, Miami. Architect: Herzog & de Meuron

Cordova Parkade, Vancouver. Architect: Henriquez Partners Architects

Car Park Plaza, Cajnovas, Spain. Architect: Teresa Sapey Estudio de Arquitectura

Ballet Valet Parking Garage, Miami. Architect: Arquitectonica

Eureka Tower Car Park, Melbourne. Designer: Axel Peemoeller.

Parc des Celestins, Lyon. Architect: Willmotte & Associes

Millennium Point, Birmingham. Architect: Birmingham City Council’s in-house design team, Urban Design, with Hill Cannon

 

The Millennium Point in Birmingham, designed by Birmingham City Council’s in-house design team, Urban Design, with Hill Cannon The Millennium Point in Birmingham

The Michigan Theatre car park in Detroit, USA built by architect Rapp & Rapp The Michigan Theatre car park in Detroit (Jagendorf/Creative Commons)

Parc des Celestins in Lyon, France designed by architect Willmotte and Associes Parc des Celestins in Lyon (Graham Miln)  

Click here to see more images

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Agency Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Network Support Engineer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Network Support Engineer is r...

Recruitment Genius: Account Director - Tech Startup - Direct Your Own Career Path

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Sales Advisor - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telephone Sales Advisor is re...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent