The Evolution of the Humble Parking Garage

Parking garage done by IES

In the past, parking structures didn’t usually elicit excitement among designers and were not thought of as avenues for inspiring design and modern technology. The focus seemed to be purely on functionality rather then how the structure enhanced the overall aesthetic or the user’s experience when visiting a location. Now, however, more and more thought is being put not only into function, but looks. Here are 4 innovative parking garages that IES has been proud to provide services to over the past 18 years.



Completed in 2002, the St. Mary’s Street Parking for the City of San Antonio consists of a 6-level parking garage containing a total of 707 parking spaces with 14,000 SF of storefront retail and office space. IES provided structural and civil engineering services for the facility that today fits comfortably in its urban environment and maintains the traditional street level character of St. Mary’s Street. The facility won several awards in the years after it was built, including the 2004 Downtown’s BEST Award.



Part of the 2005 $450 million Alamo Colleges Bond Program, the new San Antonio College Parking Garage was completed in 2008. The facility was much needed at the time as the growing campus suffered from a severe lack of parking for students, faculty/staff and visitors. The 361,605 SF five-level structure consists of 1,100 parking stalls and includes two glass-back elevators, a stairwell tower and is constructed of pre-cast concrete, with a distinctive red brick exterior that harmonizes with the other buildings on campus. Additionally, it has perforated metal panels and glass storefront systems that help soften the exterior.



This parking garage makes a statement. As the gateway building to the north side of the UTSA campus, the Bauerle Road Parking Garage incorporates urban design gestures by adapting its faces to address the context of each side of the project. Ground level includes three departments: a new UTSA Visitor Center, Alumni Programs and Communications. It also accommodates parking offices, coffee kiosk and Spirit store. Additionally, an elevated bridge on the second floor connects directly onto the Main Building arcade. The west side of the building has a continuous vegetative trellis that faces the campus preserve and blends the building with this undeveloped edge of the campus. Completed in 2012, the 1200 vehicle project increases the number of parking spaces to meet the demands of growth in enrollment with a minimal net increase in the land area consumed by parking, leaving land available for other uses including future buildings.



The Prickly Pear Parking Garage at Northwest Vista College was completed in 2013. It has a unique design that captures the style of other new structures on the campus. The facility features glass, metal, and a masonry stair towers capped by a metal clad roof. For the parking bays a set of curved perforated screens mask the horizontal parking levels and add color, scale, texture and rhythm to the structure. The garage sits comfortably in the existing Northwest Vista campus and nestles next to a reserved natural area. The selection of the location also helped to minimize the environmental impact and no trees needed to be removed from the campus to accommodate the new parking facility.


Successful integration of parking structures is often key to the design and implementation of most modern environments. At IES, we have wide-ranging experience in the planning, design, and implementation of functional and innovative parking structures and we’re dedicated to delivering quality engineering services that bring architectural visions to life. If you are interested in working with Intelligent Engineering Services, give us a call at 210-349-9098.


Leave a Comment

Dedicated to delivering quality structural and civil engineering services that bring architectural visions to life. At IES, we are always learning and always improving. Some things, however, will never change: our high standards, our core values, and our commitment to our clients and the community.