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Parked cars, museum exhibit

26 Nov 2009

Above, the postmodern Wells Fargo Center parking garage in downtown Denver. It was built in 1983; maybe, it was designed by Philip Johnson? (Architect friends, please correct me if I have that wrong.) The cladding looks pretty cool, and I’d imagine that it has something to do with the building’s ventilation.

In the post about my recent visit to the National Building Museum in D.C., I mentioned the new temporary exhibit House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage. I wanted to go a bit more in depth about it. House of Cars is about “how the parked car has changed our built environments”; it surveys the early days of parking garages and the mid-century building boom, engineering, innovations, and the future of parking solutions within sustainable city planning. If I had spent more time reading the graphics, and not just looking at them, I might have been able to tell you with certainty everything about that Denver parking garage.

I managed to take only a few photos of the exhibit, while at the same time attempting to dodge a hyper-vigilant docent (“no photography, please”); I present them to you now. Like I said in the earlier post, it’s a well-done little exhibit. Each section has its own color, and is numbered for easy navigation (like a parking garage?!). The wall graphics and reading rails are densely packed with imagery of old photographs and architectural drawings, but the gridular layout keeps things clean. And finally, I like the metal structures that the graphics are mounted on, for the touch of parking garage chic they add.

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