Design Responses Print

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Design Checklist​

  1. The fac​ades of the parking building incorporate creative approaches to cladding and screening.


At a functional level, cladding and rain screens provide protection from the weather while allowing airflow into a parking structure.​

However, these cladding elements also present an opportunity to create dynamic and alluring architectural effects. Facades and cladding systems can reflect artistic expression, make cultural references, incorporate living walls and roofs and respond to the building’s neighbouring context. 

As a starting point for considering the design of facades and to spark inspiration, the following section highlights some examples inventive cladding. 

Better Design Practice

​Cultural Inspiration​
  • Facade designs provide the opportunity to add cultural value to both the project and the community in which they are located.
  • Research the historic and cultural background of the site and context to gather conceptual cues that can inform and enrich the design of cladding and facade elements.

Artistic Intervention​​

​Structural and facade elements can employ dram​atic architectural effect, allowing a parking structure to positively contribute to the urban fabric of a city.​

Contextual Response​​
  • Responding appropriately to the site and context requires due consideration to the form, scale, massing and articulation of the neighbouring buildings and spaces.
  • In historic contexts, be wary of conforming to pastiche reproductions - study the underlying formal principles of historic buildings and complement these with contemporary reinterpretations or contrast them with bold but respectful gestures.
  • In some instances it may be appropriate to disguise a parking building as a ‘regular’ building to fit it within its urban context. Articulating the facade with ‘window’ openings, and matching the scale and materials of neighbouring buildings can help a parking building blend in to its surrounds.
  • Where possible, utilise cladding screens to redefine the perceived structure of the building.
  • Using the cladding as a ‘skin’ that is visually separate to the supporting structure can provide for engaging architectural results.
  • Conversely, cladding can be used to emphasise the internal structure of the building by reflecting the horizontal lines of the floor levels behind the screen and thus lending a sense of scale to the facade.
  • The screening element of a building can be modulated to reflect a finer grain of building than the singular mass of structure it clads.

Urban Green

The use of 'living walls' or 'green walls' can serve to soften the exterior of a parking building. Green walls can be achieved in several different ways and yield different effects.  They will also require different maintenance approaches. 

Climbing plants
  • Climbing plants are potted or planted and grow up the face of a building from a base of soil. 
  • Climbers can either be self-supporting or cling to the facade itself (e.g. ficus). Alternatively, they can climb on a supporting structure - for instance a mesh or wire framework.
  • While plant life can be sustained where planters can capture rainfall, a backup or supplementary irrigation system minimises risk to plant health and dehydration.
  • As a rule of thumb, a reasonable sized planter for climbing plants is around 1m deep by half a meter wide.  The larger the planter provided, the larger and taller the plants will be able to grow​ - however the size of the plant and its ideal dimensions will vary from species to species.
Procumbent plants
  • Procumbent plants are trailing plants. They can be potted in soil at upper levels and used to cascade over the edge of their planter and dangle down the face of a building. (Appropriate species may include Muehlenbeckia and trailing native fuscias).
  • While plant life can be sustained where planters can capture rainfall, a backup or supplementary irrigation system minimises risk to plant health and dehydration..
​Planted Walls
  • Planted walls or ‘green walls’ are proprietary systems which support plant life in modular wall mounted panels.
  • Green walls come in two general types - hydroponic and substrate - neither can function without full irrigation.
  • Planted walls are less robust, more expensive and require greater attention to maintenance than their standard planter type counterparts.

​General Tips

  • Don’t segregate plants into individual pots or planters - allowing multiple plants to share a larger communal planter will allow their roots to share soil, spread further and allow for the plants to grow larger and healthier.
  • Be mindful that irrigation, nutrition and maintenance will need to be considered, and that ‘green’ doesn’t necessarily mean ecologically sound. Beware of ‘green-washing’ a project with green walls that do not actually perform a positive environmental function.
  • Refer to the “Growing Green Guide”​ for detailed information.

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