Parking areas, whether residential or commercial, have, over the years, been designed almost as an afterthought - often an eyesore within the built environment, designed solely for function rather than aesthetics. They’re cumbersome and large and a sign of the last few decades – obtrusive displays of consumerism and our increased carbon footprint.
The same thing is the case in residential settings. Parking space can be at a minimum in many residential areas as we move towards higher density living. Across New Zealand , its commonplace to see cars parked haphazardly in small spaces in front of standalone houses, or two or three family cars taking up the front of a property. Sometimes, a garage or carport has been tacked on to older houses, while in newer homes, the connected garage is a must-have.
But that’s changing slowly with significant advancements in technology. Now, while many of the more innovative residential parking solutions still come at a hefty price, the options are increasing. There’s also a shift towards alternative modes of transport, and parking doesn’t necessarily just relate to vehicles anymore – bicycle parks are an emerging design object with many innovative solutions for ‘green transport’ parking, both residentially and within cityscapes.
But if you’re still using the family cars on a daily basis and have a budget to boot, there are some interesting options for residential vehicular parks. Turntables are one option where space is at a premium. Turntables are essentially moving discs installed onto a driveway or parking area designed to turn cars in small spaces for easy entry and exit. Operated by remote control from within the car, they allow cars to be driven into an area from one direction and turned to the other direction to exit the small area. Standard turntables are four metres in diameter, or 5.3 metres in diameter a double-car turntable.
Vehicle stackers are another emerging option and one that has been growing in popularity, especially in Europe. Building a vehicle stacker into your home’s design, either above or below-ground, means less space is needed in a garage or parking area, allowing the freedom to utilise the additional floor area. Vehicle stackers generally lift up to around 3,000kg in weight, hoisting even the largest SUVs on top of one another in moments.
For a more futuristic option, the Cardok – an underground parking solution – takes away the need for a garage or parking area entirely. The Cardok is a piece of equipment that is not visible when closed – it’s roof sits flush with the driveway. When opened by remote, it pops up to allow the driver to move the car onto a platform, which then descends again into the ground, remaining unseen until required.
Most of these options are run by remote, and options are available to use a backup generator in the event of a power cut to ensure vehicles are always accessible.
As we move into a more sustainably focused future, look away from cars and instead towards alternative transport solutions, the desire to utilise the land around our homes for more natural pursuits is developing and with it, innovative solutions to store vehicles out of sight.
Who knows what the next few years will bring in terms of the further development of car parking solutions, but one thing is for sure – the landscape of bicycle parks is developing at pace with cities all over the world embracing creative solutions including ‘tree’ bike parks, vertical bike hangars, and pods. It’s clear that as we look to utilise space and consider ways to park our cars discreetly taking up as little space as possible, the opposite is true with bicycles, an area in which lavish and creative designs continue to emerge.
Renovation work can be a head-on collision between dreams and realities, read Duncan Stuart’s column about it: Home renovation experiences.
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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.