What I don’t know about engineering is a lot. So when I read about the floating parking garage, all I could think was “that could never work.” I feel similarly when I see skyscrapers going up, ships being built in enormous cradles, and those giant trucks that can carry a dozen cars at a time. I’m happy there are minds out there to think of these things, because they’re necessary but not the kind of dreaming I do.
According to fastcodesign.com, the floating parking garage is built on a reservoir. When it rains, the garage floats on the water collected below it. When the weather is dry, the garage sinks into the empty space. There’s a park on top of the structure to be used whenever weather permits. It’s called Pop-Up.
The idea is based on Archimedes’ principle of floatation: the buoyancy of the parking structure is designed so that it has the same density as the displaced water. A system of mechanical lifts ensures that the parking garage stays balanced as it adjusts based on how much water is in the reservoir.
I’d like to add my two cents’ worth: the seams around that park would need to be well designed and well-protected whether it’s floating or falling. A sturdy enclosure and noisy notification system should be in place for whenever the structure is in motion. I’m still trying to puzzle out how all that concrete and water get along. Fortunately, I’m not the brains of the operation – just an armchair engineer.
The Pop-Up is meant to handle two challenges in urban environments – growing populations and climate change. A Danish architecture and design firm called Third Nature created the hypothetical structure. It’s not an inexpensive solution, but the firm explains, climate change could cost countries and cities billions of dollars in the future. Someone might as well be making plans for that eventuality.
Read the article here.