Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Structure

In 2002, the government of Santa Monica, Calif., released its Sustainable City Plan that outlined several green goals for the city. The Civic Center Parking Structure that opened in April helps the city reach those goals, says project architect James Mary O’Connor, principal for Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners in Santa Monica.

“It’s a great thing for a city to take something mundane like a parking structure and turn it into a green building,” O’Connor says. “It shows that the community is committed to sustainability and green architecture.”

The greenest element of the six-story garage is the rooftop array of photovoltaic panels supplied by Schott Solar Inc. in Roseville, Calif. “Traditionally, no one parks on the roof, because it’s so hot,” O’Connor says. “The PV panels create shade and generate electricity.”

In another divergence from traditional parking garage designs, the structure features almost 11,000 square feet of channel glass supplied by Bendheim Wall Systems of Passaic, N.J. The channels project off the building like an outboard billboard, O’Connor says.

“You have to ventilate these structures, because of the CO2 from the cars,” O’Connor says. “But we wanted to create the illusion that the entire thing was glass. We have the channel glass at angles of 45 degrees. When you look down the street, it looks like the whole façade is glass.”

The glass is colored Prismasolar textured planks, certified by the Safety Glazing Certification Council of Sackets Harbor, N.Y., tempered and heat-soaked. The colors are baked on to the inside of the channels that are backlit at night.

Woodbridge Glass of Tustin, Calif., performed the installation and supplied a custom frame system.