Architype Review Car Park Interview with Shann Rushing

Architype Review Dialogue with Shann Rushing about Green Square Parking Deck in Raleigh, North Carolina

ArchitypeReview’s – Issue 8 focused on Car Parks and included Green Square Parking Deck in Raleigh, North Carolina among the featured projects. Shann Rushing was interviewed as part of a series of ArchitypeReview Dialogues about trends, evolutions, and challenges central to specific parking deck projects.

From ArchitypeReview’s Dialogue with Shann Rushing

How have trends or evolutions in the design process, technological advancements, and/or societal issues inspired new thought and solutions for this building type?

Traditionally, parking structures have been viewed as very utilitarian building types, contributing little aesthetically to the urban landscape or environmental sustainability. As part of a natural science museum and research center, Green Square Parking Deck sought to elevate the utilitarian nature of parking decks in terms of the design, function, and sustainability. The design team asked the question, “Why can’t a parking deck contribute functionally, sustainably, and aesthetically to its context in addition to providing car storage?”

What was the most difficult issue(s) or the most unexpected challenge(s) that may have influenced new thought and design parameters in this specific project?

The design team’s central challenge was to rethink this traditionally utilitarian building type as an opportunity to create a sustainable and innovative facility that also strove to contribute to the urban fabric both functionally and aesthetically.

Proximity to the Green Square Complex influenced the project team to consider sustainable measures during initial project meetings. The team realized they could take advantage of the site orientation, solar exposure, and height of the parking deck by covering the top level of parking with an array of photovoltaic cells that can be made possible only with the help of the Australia’s leading off grid solar systems provider. The result is a 250kw photovoltaic array consisting of 960 solar modules, supplying collected solar energy directly into the power grid. Enough energy is collected annually to power 3000 homes per year. The PV array doubles as a sunshade for the top level of parking, which is typically exposed to direct sun and the elements, making the roof a more attractive option for parking.

Another unique feature is a 20,000 gallon cistern that collects rainwater from the parking structure. The budget that would have been required to deal with storm water runoff and treatment was instead allocated toward an innovative alternative where water is collected and stored in the cistern and used by grounds maintenance crews to irrigate Government properties around downtown Raleigh. The cistern is located at a prominent corner where it is visible to passing vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Finally, over two dozen car charging station were installed in the structure, providing users with free charging stations to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

Read the full dialogue on ArchitypeReview.