An innovative way to house cars in Gotham

The designers incorporated a state-of-the-art robotic parking system to automatically park and retrieve residents’ cars.

Greenwich Village continuously reinvents itself with a spirit of discovery and independence. The charming tree-lined streets, beautiful parks and cafes have been home to generations of artists, designers and musicians, creating a community that is always evolving and inspiring.

An innovative example of this ever-changing neighborhood is 12 East 13th Street. Transformed with an extraordinary architectural vision, it is uniquely suited for contemporary loft-like residences. Completely updated with a new structural envelope and state-of-the-art mechanical systems, the building has been re-clad in a burnished orange-red Roman brick. At the top, a crown of curved luminous glass rises from behind the cubic form of the original structure, turning the building into a work of art.

While Greenwich Village is a neighborhood of discovery, you are not very likely to discover a parking spot anytime soon. Like much of Manhattan, this neighborhood has competitive street parking, near-constant construction, tight garages and every square foot of available space becomes more valuable by the minute. Tenants are looking for convenience, especially in Greenwich Village.

As building professionals struggle with shrinking floorplans and limited space in major metro areas, solutions like this help to create new and ingenious alternatives to traditional options.

Not only would future residents of 12 East 13th Street demand perfection from an interior design and construction perspective, they would need a safe, secure and easy-to-access space to park their luxury cars and SUVs. In fact, not only would they demand this parking solution, but incorporating an innovative, safe and easy to use system would help the building developers attract the right clientele and provide a unique selling feature for the property.

Like many neighborhoods undergoing dramatic transformations in the New York City metro area, Greenwich Village features a number of residential buildings and re-purposed industrial spaces that lack any parking whatsoever. Therefore, for the developers of 12 East 13th Street to stand out and increase the profile of their listings, an innovative parking solution was a must-have from a business perspective, especially in terms of return on investment (ROI).

Parking facilities often require secure closure solutions that can stand up to frequent cycles as drivers enter and exit. In these cases, you’re looking for a door that meets the three H’s—high speed, high cycle and headroom. The design of the building saw that the second-floor offered the best space to house the tenant’s cars. However, there was no possibility of a ramp being integrated outside of the building, but the cars needed to reach the second floor.

A limited floorplan left no space for a ramp to the second-floor parking deck from within the garage door, so an innovative idea was required. The designers incorporated a state-of-the-art robotic parking system to automatically park and retrieve residents’ cars.

Partnering with Park Plus to create the automated parking system, when a resident arrives home they use their smartphone to open the garage door. Once inside the parking bay on the first floor they simply exit the vehicle and it is swiftly sent upstairs to the second-floor parking deck with the touch of a button. Since each residence has its own parking space and the door is a heavily used access point, it was important for the designer to find a fast, reliable and secure rolling door with a compact overhead unit.

“Not only was functionality a major concern, but we also needed a custom closure solution that worked with the overall exterior aesthetic of the building which is rooted in neighborhood context,” said Eugene Flotteron, AIA, principal, CetraRuddy Architecture. “We collaborated with CornellCookson to develop a solution that is both functional and architecturally sensitive.”

Problem solved
Overhead space was not a major concern as the first-floor parking bay lacked a ceiling, which allows the automated parking system to lift the cars to the second story. This allowed the architect and CornellCookson to develop an ingenious alternative.

Instead of the standard metal rolling doors or grilles that grace the first floor of buildings throughout Manhattan, they designed a custom panel that attaches to the bottom of a roll-up service door that is anchored on the second floor. The panel matches the architecture and design of the other exterior doors and windows on the first floor for a seamless aesthetic. When closed, it looks just like the rest of the façade.

While Greenwich Village is a neighborhood of discovery, you are not very likely to discover a parking spot anytime soon.

When the rolling door on the second floor is raised, it coils into the hood. This pulls the panel attached to its bottom bar up to the second floor, providing access to the parking bay. The door hangs there until it is lowered back down. Since the panel doesn’t need to coil, it can remain one, rigid piece of material. When closed, the panel is “invisible” to passersby, only known as the entrance to the parking bay by residents and owners. This adds a sense of privacy and security—along with exclusivity.

While invisible on the outside of the building due its location on the interior wall of the second-floor parking garage, the CornellCookson Rolling Service Door plays an integral role in the function of the parking bay. Manufactured from slats of formed galvanized steel, it is made to last for more than 50,000 roll up cycles. Its commercial-grade construction requires minimal maintenance for the lifetime of the door, ensuring residents are never left stranded.

In addition, a safety light curtain adds another level of protection, ensuring that the motorized door and panel will not close on an object. If an object enters path of closure, this entrapment protection device will stop the door or grille from closing and return it to the fully open position.

“Park Plus engineers also have a good working relationship and strong understanding with the CornellCookson technical department,” says Andreas Wastel, VP, Park Plus. “They know exactly what we need and want in a parking system.”

A winning combination
The rolling service door, customized to include the additional panel on its base, provided a winning combination of design and functionality for the architect, facility manager and future residents.

As building professionals struggle with shrinking floorplans and limited space in major metro areas, solutions like this help to create new and ingenious alternatives to traditional options for rolling doors and grilles in parking facilities.

The custom manufacturing capabilities mean architects and designers have a world of opportunity awaiting them. If they can dream it, chances are designers and engineers can make it happen. This has major implications for the wider parking sector, especially as designers and parking professionals grapple with increasing urbanization, shrinking floor plans, lower overhead space, and other major trends and challenges.

* As a key member of the CornellCookson Architectural Design Support team, Shawn McCormick works with the A&D community to provide custom door and closure solutions. With a background in drafting and engineering he has experience helping architects through the all stages of the design process for more than 15 years.

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