Preventing a parking structure that is as long as the Chrysler Building is tall from looking mammoth was no easy task. In the tradition of “form follows function,” the exterior structural framing became the architecture. Cast-in-place concrete is lit up at night to showcase its reflective quality. Special mix controls and forming techniques were employed to result in a denser, silvery concrete with exposed form patterns and square corners rather than chamfers. The required exit stairs are finely detailed and artfully lit to punctuate the rhythmic repetition of concrete beams, columns and shear walls. Each façade has its own identity, reflecting the operations within and the conditions without. The east end of the structure incorporates a vierendeel truss, which serves both as a seismic moment frame and support for cantilevered pedestrian collector walkways on each supported level. The vertical members of the truss create a colonnade effect, delineating the pedestrian areas from vehicular drives. The walkways were finished with terrazzo and custom-color tile flooring paralleled by stainless steel light bollards and a planter system. Shade screens mounted on the exterior provide alternating sunshine and shadowing on the walkway. The roof level has a coordinating pergola over the walkway. Due to the specially selected epoxy paint, the walkways at each floor shimmer at night with the assigned color, aiding in wayfinding.
Equally challenging was adapting speed-parking operations to structure parameters and providing capacity to park and exit up to one car a second. Every component of the system, from toll plazas to escalators, is coordinated to provide apparently seamless movement of vehicles and pedestrians while assuring a flawless guest experience. Pedestrian vertical transportation is accomplished via a pair of elevators and ten escalators. Two of these escalators span 118 feet in length and rise 49 feet vertically, the longest free-spanning outdoor escalators in the world!