• Credit: Noah Kalina

Think of parking lots and bland, gray, cracked, paved surfaces normally come to mind. But are there any well-designed ones? This question sparked ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking, according to author Eran Ben-Joseph. Enthusiastic candidates were rare until recently, when architects such as Herzog & de Meuron, who designed a striking, loftlike parking garage in Miami last year, began to see the parking lot as a typology ready to be transformed. Ben-Joseph considers the paved lot in the U.S. to be a great leveler, one that does not distinguish between a Chevrolet Volt and a Ford Excursion in terms of physical and environmental footprint—and which now covers more than one-third of the metro areas in some cities. The design of the parking space also can vary, from a drive-through restaurant’s concrete island to a stadium’s parking complex, and its evolution has influenced the form and function of residences, commercial buildings, and even cities. Get ready for more carchitecture. • $24.95; The MIT Press, March 2012