By Kevin Dineen
The Eiffel Tower. The Colosseum of Rome. The Taj Mahal. All of these structures are considered to be architectural marvels, the most iconic buildings in the world. They all pale in comparison, however, to the grandeur of the Fordham University Parking Garage.
“What?” you may ask. “A parking garage?” I say The Fordham University parking garage is more than a parking garage. It is by far the most underappreciated building on campus and needs to be given the respect it deserves.
The parking garage has more utility than nearly any other building on campus. The Fordham Parking Garage has 1,546 spots. That amount of spots takes up 278,280 square feet. If all of those spaces were not built vertically, Fordham’s campus would have much less space. Who knows what campus could be missing for the sake of parking space. I hope it would be JMH, one of the worst buildings on campus.
Furthermore, the parking garage is extremely aesthetically pleasing. Unistress Corporation, a company that specializes in the design, production, and construction of large scale precast/prestressed concrete structures, says that the Fordham Parking Garage “is clad in an interpretive Collegiate Gothic skin of ashlar stone, precast details, slate gray metal tracery, grillage, and fabric mesh.” Such design and care helped to create the 3rd most aesthetically pleasing building on campus.
The blend of steel grates with deep green tones and a brilliant array of grey-hue stones allows the parking garage to fit in perfectly aside its neighbor, O’Hare Hall, and makes the building “blend into the existing campus vernacular” (Unistress Corporation). It is better than O’Hare, however, because of it’s layout.
The garage perfectly incorporates multiple entry points in a simple, yet logical, flow. I am not sure of the exact principles of Feng-Shui, but I imagine that the parking garage fits the criteria. The seamless incorporation of a sky bridge to lead pedestrians right up to campus’s main level and under the O’Hare skybridge is a stroke of brilliance.
The rear and side of the garage have Lower Level entrances which help to conceal the underbelly. A barrier midway through the garage blocks pedestrians from Ram Van parking and other miscellaneous high-power vehicle storage. The front of the garage contains two double-wide openings, allowing for simple, yet extremely functional, traffic flow.
The parking garage is also the source of Fordham’s largest solar panel field. The roof of the garage holds a 963-kilowatt solar panel array. According to Fordham University’s Changemaker blog, “Marco A. Valera, vice president of facilities management and sustainability at Fordham, said that the new power sources can provide over 20 percent of the total electric consumption at the university when operating at maximum production.”
The Changemaker blog also says that “in addition to cutting back on carbon emissions, the combined off- and on-site arrays will result in approximately $200,000 annual savings for Fordham for 20 years.” It makes me wonder why there is not a parking garage scholarship with all of the savings.
I consider the solar panels one of the smartest moves Fordham has made in recent years, likely right behind the decision to build the structure in the first place and the decision to fire basketball coach Jeff Neubauer.
The parking garage simply deserves more respect. Even though for most people it is largely out of sight, out of mind, I make sure to give it the appreciation it deserves, and you should too. If you think there is a better building on campus please reach out. I won’t tell you how, but don’t hesitate to figure it out if you care that much.