Four Lane Ends

Multi-storey car park, south and west elevations

2003

Multi-storey car parks are probably among the least loved public buildings, intended to accommodate safely as many cars as possible at the most economic price.  These mono-functional buildings are common landmarks of the urban environment, but rarely do they provide visual interest or contribute to the quality of the public realm. But that condition is not inevitable.

In developing a new multi-storey car park for Four Lane Ends Metro station, to extend ‘Park and Ride’ facilities, a different approach was adopted.  Cath Campbell was commissioned to work collaboratively with the architects to design the car park’s elevations. She adopted a strategy which used existing elements of the building to give expression to her ideas whilst maintaining their intended function. ‘Detour’ uses the louvers, which are let into the facade of the car park to provide security, ventilation and to deflect sunlight entering it.

Whilst the majority of louvers are installed in a regular, horizontal pattern a number of them are set out in such a way which contradicts the formal logic of the facades. The lines of these louvers deviate from the horizontal and are individually angled to create an organic flow of line and movement around the external facade of the building.

Cath Campbell wrote how ‘Detour’ was designed to, "animate the car park facade, creating a dynamic surface describing movement and journeys through space. It suggests an aerial view of road networks and captures a sense of pace and change.  The presence of the artwork the play of light and shadow through its form also animates the internal spaces of the car park, drawing attention to the fabric of the building and framing views of the surrounding landscape".

 Artist's website - http://www.commissionsnorth.org/showcase/artist/20.