Saturday, July 23, 2005

Have you ever stopped to look at the scenery in a multi-level underground carpark?

These man-made caves have always fascinated me; the ramps, the simplicity and perfect functionality of them, the order and practicality of them which were they not so would make them useless to everyone. There are no directions telling you how to use a multi-level underground carpark, just signs pointing to the way out and what you should do in case of an emergency. Nevertheless, processions of traffic move in perfect order most of the time.

Call me heartless but I also like looking at the corners and the walls to see how many might be wearing a part of the carpark on the side of their slightly redesigned rear fender or nearside door. Price you pay for being careless I'm afraid.

I like the massive air conditioning ducts pumping in fresh air from the surface lest those on the 6th level down suffocate from carbon monoxide poisoning, I like the pure simplicity of the exposed fluorescent tube lighting and how Hollywood makes them all spew sparks when they're smashed from their sockets. I like the cold stark grey cement walls and floors and how the roof always appears to be much darker.

There is just such an indelible stamp of terra firma and homo sapien purpose in an underground carpark. I think I most enjoy the fact the things are so practical and well built but there is absolutely zero ornation in them. Descending 6 levels of concrete cavern into the depths of the city having to look at pretty painted murals or masses of advertising banners would be more than I could tolerate - I'd park at the station and take the train in.

Multi-storey carparks are only enjoyable when the weather is warm. It's not nice getting out of the car on the 4th floor of one of those things, all open to the wind and the elements, birdshit everywhere, and being assaulted by the freezing blasts of polar air apt to whip through multi-storey carparks because there isn't anything taller than 4 foot 6 to stop it. The views are alright, but unless it's warm, you're not going to stand there staring out at the passing traffic too long. Hypothermia tends to set in after about 45 seconds.

No wind chill factor in the underground models, just the audible breath of the ducts and squeal of tyres on the smooth cement surface from the floors above and below. Marvellous things.

(Time to compose this entry: 13 mins)

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