The 1950s brought about a car-dominated culture that dictated the fabric of cities in the United States. Eisenhower’s Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 authorized the construction of 41,000 miles of national highways, connecting cities across the United States, while also displacing and dividing urban neighborhoods. Clearing the path for these highways wasn’t the only physical impact on cities: with so many ways to drive into and around the city, parking lots and structures became a necessity.

Parking and auto storage will be relegated to only the most undesirable locations and on the outskirts of cities. As this happens, thousands of parking garages will be rendered obsolete.

PARK HOUSE is a possible solution for what will certainly be a paradigm shift in car culture in the United States.

What happens to parking structures when we no longer drive cars?

Construction Sequencing:

In an effort to find a sustainable solution to this problem, KTGY’s R+D Studio proposes a system that not only repurposes these parking garages for much-needed housing, but does so using repurposed shipping containers that can be simply “plugged in” to maximize efficiency and minimize the disruption to the existing context.

A parking structure ideal for conversion into housing residential units is mainly dependent on the configuration of ramps. The “donut” shape provides a way to carve out a courtyard and provide daylight to all units. The proposed site of Park House is within an existing student housing development in San Diego, designed by KTGY. This “donut” shaped parking structure features an efficient layout, ample clear height and access for infilling with shipping containers. If parking is no longer a necessity on site, converting the structure into additional housing units is a logical next step.

Parking Structure as Residential Building


The repurposed containers and interior walls are constructed off-site prior to delivery and installation. With some modifications to the existing structure, the original utilitarian structure transforms into a building that’s hardly recognizable as its past function.

Container Units in Elevation
Ample 8-foot deep and 24-foot wide private patios provided for each unit.

Fifth Level Units
Warm wood decking in the corridors and courtyard softens the concrete slabs and is more suited to the residential use. A steel shade structure covers the upper level corridor.

Residential Corridor
A raised deck corridor eliminates the need for stairs at each unit, while providing an accessible path of travel. Punched openings in the existing slab create a vertical garden and open guardrails bring light into corridors, providing visual connections to floors above and below.

Shipping Container Units:

Shipping Containers as Residential Units

Park House is primarily aimed at young professionals, and the units were designed with this consideration. The units are staggered to create movement in the building facade which also helps to break up the long residential corridor.

Fitting into the Existing

Section Cut
A section cutting through bathrooms and kitchens demonstrates the utility plenum below the units, providing space for supply lines (orange) and waste water lines (yellow).

View of Living and Dining Areas
Tube steel reinforcing and shipping containers surfaces have been left exposed in much of the living spaces.

View of Living and Kitchen Areas
The two-bedroom unit features exposed concrete of the parking structure where the kitchen has been integrated into space between the existing concrete columns.