9th Avenue Parkade + Innovation Centre

5468796 Architecture + Kasian Architecture, Interior Design and Planning

As dependence on car ownership is challenged by the growth of ride sharing services, industry-related projects must optimize their elasticity for future programming. The brief required a 510-stall parking garage that could support future conversion into office, light industrial, or residential use – in stages or as a whole – if and when such changes occur [rendering an underground structure unfeasible].

Completed July 2021, the structure’s first life as a 30,000m2 multi-storey parkade and 5,000m2 innovation centre is marked by several high-level aspirations that reimagine the formulaic approach to the infrastructure project while simultaneously designing for conversion. Transforming the vehicular parking circuit and user experience from one of conventional, utilitarian function to one with rich, unexpected qualities required a typology-challenging approach. As a result, the design employs high floor-to-floor height, 12m shallow floor plates, light-washed pedestrian-forward routes, elevated views in all directions, clear and simple wayfinding, and straightforward single-direction circulation. These features come together to create an iconic destination that actively contributes to the public realm, evolving beyond the accepted standard to provide delightful and inspiring experiences and spaces. The first convertibility test presented itself during the design process with the introduction of a 2-storey innovation centre. An integral addition occupying space at grade and level 02, it complements the exhibition courtyard, sports court and bicycle storage with a human-centric design in a parking-heavy programme, serving to animate the street, bring vitality to the site, and ultimately act as an economic and civic catalyst within the existing cultural district.