Commuting to work in Lagos, can be hectic, more so if you live on the mainland and work on the island. If you have a car, it may be a little less stressful. With that, you can brave through the mind numbing traffic and arrive on the island by mid morning only to be greeted by an even bigger challenge – where to park.
Parking in these parts is like gold. Sometimes if you’re lucky you may find a neat spot that won’t leave your car scratched due to its proximity to fast moving traffic, other times, you might need to park way down the street a couple of buildings over and walk trek to your desired destination. Some areas have ‘make-shift-under-bridge-parking-lots’ where you pay ridiculous fees to nestle your automobile. Other times, you strike a bargain with Petrol Station attendants to park in a corner on their property. Its a problem, which admittedly, stretches beyond my Victoria Island bias, and it needs a solution A.S.A.P.
A prime example of an effective solution is this Parking Structure design for the city of Santa Monica, California, by Behnisch Architekten and Studio Jantzen. When I came across it, I pondered on the possibility of one or more of such structures, sitting pretty within urban centers around the state.
Parking Structure #6 was designed to serve a variety of major destinations for locals and tourists in the downtown area of the Los Angeles Coastline. Its location offers a blend of activities ranging from retail spots (malls, shoprite et al), landscapes and gardens, as well as places for rest and relaxation (Iya Basira, buka under tree etc). The design was intended to enhance this local energy and its facade says it all. Visually dynamic, Bold and Colourful, are a few words that can describe the metal panels that adorn the approach elevation. The panels themselves are perforated to create a somewhat porous facade which allows for daylight entry into the deep and typically dark parking levels. Each panel is made up of two triangular metal sheets, one coloured and slanting at an angle while the other is perforated and white. The white perforated sheets are the purveyors of the rich daylight into the interior spaces as they help to catch and redirect the sun’s luminance aided by strips of mirror-finish stainless steel on the inner surface.
The prominent staircase that carves its path through the facade of panels, begins inconspicously from the street level and as it rises, protrudes outward to allow those travelling along it take in the ocean views offered by the location.
Seeing this not just as a nice project or design, but as a viable possibility in the Nigerian context, is heartwarming. The words “It can work.” come to mind, knowing fully well, that there would be those whose thoughts and assertions would contrast mine, but, nonetheless, its a worthy challenge. To find a space and propose a stunning and appropriate design for a commercial parking structure within the cities of Nigeria, as i believe not just Lagos suffers from this issue. I, for one, would love to give it a shot, and see if i can help Nigerians, park well, in the proper sense.