Brian Fitzsimmons

Brian Fitzsimmons

1. How have trends or evolutions in the design process, technological advancements, and/or societal issues inspired new thought and solutions for this building type?

Guardian Parking is a covered parking lot in a redeveloping urban area of the midwest United States. People are moving back to the cities. People want to walk. But the economics and realities of escaping the personal car do not exist yet.

2. What was the most difficult issue(s) or the most unexpected challenge(s) that may have influenced new thought and design parameters in this specific project?

A covered parking lot in an urban environment challenges the action of what is responsible architecture, which should enhance the streetscape and pedestrian experience rather than detract from it. Can a simple car park be more, while still being constrained by ordinary budgets?

3. Did this project and working on this building type expand or evolve your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is changing on current projects?

We as architects expanded the function of a carport to also create space and place-making, while remaining honest to its daily role. It shelters cars but it can also be used as an event space for markets, organization fundraisers and other neighborhood happenings. It has become a place that is pleasant to walk through, to walk past on the sidewalk, and to be inside. It has become an asset to the neighborhood.

4. In the context of this project, how is your office and design process being influenced by current trends in academic curricula and incoming young architects? In turn, how are current projects and new processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?

In a simple, honest way, Guardian Parking is an example of how architecture can bridge the gap between the rules of the pure ideas advanced in education and the pragmatic demands of our culture and economics. At its core, architectural education is problem solving. Guardian Parking attempts to solve the problem of making a car park architecture.

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