I love it when I stumble upon an unusual architectural feature or design in an unexpected place. When I think of a parking deck, I think of a boring, partially open concrete block, stamped into a city landscape. Yes, it's functional. Is it beautiful? Not usually.
However, during my recent (and first) visit to Atlanta's The Works, an Upper Westside mixed use development, I was stopped in my tracks by the exquisite design of the parking deck. Designed by Smith Dalia Architects, the triangular cut outs on the face of the deck give it an Escher-like feel. Though I didn't have my professional camera with me, I couldn't help but take a few quick photos.
It reminded me of the time I went to Japan when I was surprised by another purely functional object that had been treated, not as plain and ordinary, but as a piece of art. It was a lowly manhole cover, but what I saw lying quietly on the road's surface was a low relief sculpture of a temple and cherry blossoms in three colors, beautifully done. There are literally hundreds of these manhole covers dotting Japan, each one unique.
Just because an object or structure is necessary and functional, that doesn't mean it can't have beauty or style. It can be elevated to a surprising and unique creation that's fascinating to look at, just like the parking deck at The Works.