Aldo Rossi and Parking Garages


When we put the tennis bubble on top of one of the parking garages we proposed for Rockville Centre on Long Island (bottom image), we couldn’t quite admit that the building looked like Palladio’s Basilica in Vicenza (middle image). This accidental reference not only validates our goal of elevating the status of the parking garage from a utilitarian structure to a civic building, but also points almost directly to Aldo Rossi’s 1966 book The Architecture of the City. In the book, Rossi launches an argument about the persistence of urban form by referencing the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua (top image) – a near-twin of Palladio’s structure. Rossi is drawn to the building because it serves as an example of urban complexes in historical cities “whose function is no longer the original one. In particular, one is struck by multiplicity of functions that a building of this type can contain over time and how these functions are entirely independent of form. At the same time, it is precisely the form that impresses us; we live it and experience it, and in turn it structures the city.” Our proposed garage prototype is also conceived as a robust building that can absorb shops, office space, and residential units over time. We can imagine that our proposed building might not be a parking garage at all in the future.