Chicago Gets Wind Powered Parking Garage

We’ve all seen parking garages with dizzying spirals of access ramps stacked up along the side. Here’s a similar but decidedly different design: the spinning vertical wind turbines of Chicago’s Greenway Self Park.

This 24-hour public parking garage was designed by the architects of HOK and comes to us by way of World Architecture News. It’s located in the River North area of Chicago and features a number of green components, including wind turbines, a rainwater harvesting system and plug-in stations for electric cars. All of this leads us to believe that those who patronize this uber-green parking garage will already be pretty ecologically conscious–but for the sake of public education, a “way-finding system” has also been incorporated at each elevator lobby to educate users on how to live more sustainably and protect the environment. (No word on whether this unsolicited advice is confined to transportation or extends into other areas of life, as well.)

Greenway Self Park

image via World Architecture News

All of eleven stories high, the Greenway Self Park is destined to become a local landmark, with that twelve-paired array of vertical turbines on the southwest corner of the garage clearly visible from a distance. Clearly, these turbines were designed to get Chicagoans thinking about how the Windy City could make better use of its most abundant resource–but in case visitors to the Greenway Self Park don’t quite get the picture, a reversible meter has also been included to measure the amount of energy generated by the turbines and and piped back into the grid of the city each year. HOK is currently pursing LEED certification for the building.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

1 Comment

  • Reply August 27, 2010


    The turbines do not work. I’m from Chicago and walk by these every morning on my way to work and have seen them function once… the wind was at 60mph. That is the ONLY time I’ve ever seen them work.

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