I’ve noticed a real move to creating more interesting public spaces, particularly car parks. Here in Christchurch, we’ve had to completely rebuild all the central city car parks after the earthquakes 10 years’ ago, and as many businesses return to city locations, the need for carparks has increased. As time has gone on we are definitely seeing more sustainable forms of transport, a lot more people biking into work, and of course a lot of people are now working in different environments, car parks will always be a necessity.
We were lucky enough to previously have a colourful mural of jet planes, tractors and other forms of transport on the walls of the Manchester Street carpark, now demolished.
Chris Finlayson, who painted the murals with Dean Blundell in 1995 was very disappointed that they couldn’t be saved when the building was demolished, as they had been painted on concrete panels. He commented in an article in the Press shortly before the carpark was demolished that “they had given people a lot of joy over the years”.
But generally, car parks have been uninteresting cubes with few redeeming features, until now.....
The underground carpark of the Christchurch Art Gallery has stunning colourful pillars – all part of the gallery’s base isolator earthquake proofing system - just popping out at you. You couldn’t fail to smile! The gallery is hoping to have large scale exhibitions down here at some point, so watch this space!
Even the lifts up to street level from the car park have creatively painted walls so you are immersed into the art gallery right from the outset.
One of the other newer car parks at the end of the Justice Precinct which houses the high court, Departments of Corrections and Ministry of Justice, as well as the central police station, also has a beautiful wall of metallic feathers crafted out of laser cut metal (see below picture). This is a stunning display in the city and one to put a smile on your face.
Other parking buildings have added planter boxes with greenery along their outer walls, which at least adds a touch of colour to an otherwise large concrete box. By making carparking at workplaces inviting, interactive and even a bit of fun, whether they have driven or biked into work, will no doubt help workers start their day on the right foot - and surely that benefits everyone?! So, congratulations to those people who have attempted to put a bit of fun into the mundane – a little bit of planning and addition of fun can make all the difference to how you view the day!
Randa Abbasi is a New Zealand trained Occupational Therapist and owner / operator of WorkSpace IQ. Randa has over 25 years experience in leading and managing teams in the health sector and specializes in ergonomics, wellbeing, personal and professional development and clinical supervision. Randa can be reached at WorkSpace IQ | Home Mobile: 021 1971 060