A multi-storey car park designed by CJCT Architects for the University of Leeds is the best piece of architecture I’ve found in this UK town.

This reminds me to never underestimate any building category, beauty can be really found anywhere. No exception for car parking spaces.

There was a time when the multy-storey car park was appreciated as the symbol of the new city creating a bond within the individual and the machine.

Now things have changed and within a masterplan the car park is nothing more than a pre-made cad-drawing a poor and utilitarian design that makes them being considered the least lovely, attractive and interesting structures ever.

They’re part of the city too and it’s good to see that the architecture firm CJCT architects gave a “front door” function to the car park they designed through a high aesthetic attention paid to the aluminium shell. Not the usual concrete giant we are used to see nowadays.

I really wish to see more good Architecture of Parking in the future, so good that even non architecture-educated people can appreciate them. Because at the end of the day Architecture has to fulfill a given function but it even has to be delightful, attractive and able to engage emotions without falling in the easy trap of creating an unusable beautiful sculpture. Ah! such a hard job the one architects have!

I really felt the need of writing this since I’ve experienced that quite often people can’t see or don’t want to see the beauty within a structure (which can be a bridge, a tube or train station, a tunnel, an elevator, a staircase, an industrial ceiling… the list is endless) just because for the vast majority all these examples are cheaply built, utilitarian in design, badly lighted and often poorly maintained so that, sadly, they’re seen as an ugly attachment of a city that make people walking fast when approaching them and turning their head to the other side.

But I have to admit that more than my architecture studies, Photography taught me so.

Check more about Leeds here


All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo
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