Poor But Beautiful


Regardless of its negative impact on the environment, it is hard to imagine the automobile disappearing from our cities in the foreseeable future. In recent years there has been an increase in cycling as well as train travel, but the car is still the transport mode that keeps having the biggest impact on how cities are shaped.

And although modern-day economy relies hugely on vehicular transport (of either people or goods), the link between the two is often forgotten about. As a result, anything relating to traffic is considered in a perspective of maintaining, rather than improving. Cheaper is better.

This is true not least for structures like public parking garages – they are generally seen as a necessary evil, and built as cheaply as possible. Problem is, since they are by nature large structures located in central areas of cities, they often become an eyesore for the general public.

Poor But Beautiful is looking for solutions to this problem. How can a parking garage be integrated with the surrounding streetscape, as well as serving a greater purpose for all those not using it to accommodate their car? To be a welcome addition to an area, as opposed to a large chunk of nothing that you pass by as quickly as possible.


Sometimes it’s the thing that receives the least interest that deserves the most attention. Rather than designing yet another concert hall or library, the main challenge here is to turn something neglected into something celebrated.


The challenge of the competition is to design a multi-storey parking garage in the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Area in Manhattan, NYC. The structure should house at least 250 parking spaces.


In addition to car parking, the design should also integrate a secondary function. This can be virtually anything, from a bowling alley to a house for abandoned dogs, but it should be clear how and why it contributes to the overall design and/or the surrounding area.


Being a parking garage, participants are asked to strive for excellence in design and function, without relying entirely on potentially expensive materials and solutions.

The design should benefit everyone - from a fictional client to the general public, via the actual user.

Manhattan has an extensive zoning legislation which dictates, among other things, heights and shapes of buildings throughout the city. For this competition we will apply a modified version of the regulations, which is described in the competition package.