“POOR BUT BEAUTIFUL – Manhattan Parking Garage” competition

How can a parking garage be integrated with the surrounding streetscape, as well as serving a greater purpose for all those not using it to accommodate their car? To be a welcome addition to an area, as opposed to a large chunk of nothing that you pass by as quickly as possible. Poor But Beautiful is looking for solutions to this problem. The challenge of the competition is to design a multi-storey parking garage in the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Area in Manhattan, NYC. The structure should house at least 250 parking spaces.

1st prize – Parking Tower by Jonathan Benner and John Bassett

POOR-BUT-BEAUTIFUL-Manhattan-Parking-Garage-competition-11CONCEPT: The continued development of Midtown West from an industrial neighborhood into a viable business district has left the area lacking in amenities such as food services and outdoor public areas for lunch. The Farmer’s market at the base of the building provides an ideal location for the business community to find fresh dining alternatives.
A roof garden at the top of the garage is a sanctuary where people can retreat to high above the traffic and noise of the street. The stepped nature of the garden provides a space that is protected from the wind but open to the sky giving the enclosure the feeling of an outdoor room.
JURY’S COMMENTS: Parking Tower responds perfectly to the brief by considering “experience of space” as the alternate programmatic use. Although there is a roof garden at the top and a farmers market at the bottom, it is the more intangible gateway idea – and the convincing way it’s visualized – that becomes the main secondary feature.
POOR-BUT-BEAUTIFUL-Manhattan-Parking-Garage-competition-14The play between the slender floor slabs and the heavy top is beautifully designed and the visualizations show a very believable structure – engineering and architecture melt together. Internally, the staircases are amazing spaces, and would surely provide not only a transitional space between driving and walking, but also an opportunity of tranquillity and reflection.
POOR-BUT-BEAUTIFUL-Manhattan-Parking-Garage-competition-15Its overall appeal is strengthened by the fact that it does not rely on technological feats like car elevators – keeping all fictional running costs to a minimum. Presentation-wise everything is very well tied together, and helps conveying a feeling of grandeur.

2nd prize – Park your Soul in Heaven by Pedro Martins, Ana Santos and Miguel Pereira

JURY’S COMMENTS: At a first glance, Park your Soul in Heaven has a fairly general approach of dealing with cars, by hiding them rather than addressing the issue more directly. But at a closer look, it relates to cars and urbanisation on a much larger scale, and over a longer time-frame, by drawing on the notion that cars have, by being a crucial part of how modern cities are shaped, forced cemeteries out of cities.
Additionally, it makes an interesting point in times when traditional methods of burial and memorial, using vast areas of land, are coming to an end as the world population (and numbers of deceased) continues to expand: a new vision for commemorating our dead is required.
Park your Soul in Heaven helps to place this in a context that prevents it from coming across as morbid, and sets up a dialogue about dealing with death in the future.
While the two programs are physically separated from each other, they are tied together not only by their theoretical relation, but also through their uncluttered and contained design, where the columbarium distinguishes itself with a softer, warmer feel.
The slim arches supporting the top volume lends a dignified air to the ceremonial space. The clear diagrams explain structure and concept convincingly, and sit well among the renderings.

3rd prize – The Community Actuator by Manson Fung

JURY’S COMMENTS: This is a concept that looks beyond the car, and proposes a way of using the building both with and without vehicles.
It is especially interesting at a point in time when the automobile is facing more and more criticism, and many cities are seeking to reduce the use and dependence of cars.
The approach of treating all spaces in the same manner would lead to the composition of the building changing over time – based on how the tenants decide to utilize the compartments – and by doing so puts a finger on the possibilities/issues with the vast areas (in central New York City) that would become available if the car gave way to other uses.
The pragmatic way of stacking and shifting the volumes gives the building a dynamic look and feel, and the almost filigree structure makes you think of Crystal Palace – a legion of delicate structure forming an overall volume that is both confident and considerate.
Everything is well explained, and the lightness of the board layout mirrors that of the building.

Honorable mention – High Line Cinemas by Will Fu and Logan Steele


Honorable mention – Park(ing) by My-Linh Pham


Honorable mention – Soundpark Jochen Kreuter, Joscha Treeck, Jakob Braun and Sebastian Haumer



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