We're not in love with the looks of this giant new park-and-ride garage in Dublin, a Bay Area suburb about 45 minutes away from San Francisco. Nor do we think a coat of earth-tone paint is going to improve its looks much, but that's what's about to happen. The cost? Around $500,000. For the details, click over to the SF Chronicle. This is a variation of what Dolores Hayden calls "putting parsley round the pig," though we wish someone had thought to plant trees rather than paint the garage. Painting concrete in Northern California serves no practical purpose: this is purely a matter of taste. As for the design? It could be better, but the public official who's calling for the paint job didn't seem to be involved during the design phase of the project. (Note: parking garages don't have to be ugly: check out this gallery of well-designed parking garages from Simon Henley's book The Architecture of Parking.)
We'd rather see the money plowed into improving the Bay Area's public transport system, rather than adding to the ongoing maintenance costs of an admittedly homely garage and ensuring the future release of VOCs and other solvents every time the thing is painted from now on.
This got us thinking about our own house, with painted wood siding that's reaching the end of its life. Perhaps the green thing to do is to choose a material that doesn't need paint at all, like the galvanized siding we spotted last week... but now we're wondering: what would the neighbors think?
image as credited above via SF Chronicle