Published on May 16, 2019

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Photography by John Horner

No parking garage is made purely for its aesthetic value. At the very best, it blends into its surrounding landscape, and at the very worst, it’s an unavoidable eyesore. This is something we accepted to be true—until Boston-based architecture studio French 2D proved everything we previously believed to be totally wrong. By adding a graphic, mesh wraparound facade to the exterior of an existing parking garage in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the studio transformed an unsightly necessity into a delightful structure.

You might ask, “Why bother?” To which we say, “Why not?” Quality design doesn’t have to be relegated to Michelin-starred restaurants and boutique hotels. Designers Anda and Jenny French focused on creating a graphic print that, when applied to the building, could play with dimension. The pattern itself is a slightly more abstract version of a time-honored one: houndstooth. We have to ask: Could this print be on its way to making a comeback?

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Photography by John Horner

French 2D isn’t the first studio to tackle high-design projects that elevate boring, utilitarian structures. British designer Camille Walala has previously covered the facade of a Brooklyn building in Memphis-style figures and shapes, and Dutch studio UNStudio designed a color-block-based solution to make apartment buildings in Daegu, South Korea, feel more personalized.

Just imagine if every unassuming structure got an extra-special dose of color or pattern. Good design has the power to make the most menial, ordinary things a little bit more joyful, after all. Now, can all parking garages get the face-lifts they deserve?

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