Parking Shacks of Downtown Providence

20 Parking Shacks in Downtown Providence, RI [2000-2006]

I love little buildings which may be too obvious to mention. This project began as many things do in between others. I found I had taken a number of pictures of parking sheds before I began to think of them as a "thing". As I began to look I found many more than I first expected and they started to assemble themselves into a small typology and I was amused by the comparison to the grand photographic typologies of impressive structures of Bernd and Hilla Becher, to give one example.

I first exhibited this work as a grid of 20 with this short statement. I made a map available as an option for a walking tour.

We’ve counted some 40 parking shacks within the city of Providence. Among our favorites are those that appear home built and sport colorful names such as “Early Bird” and “Park”. Also interesting are the prefabricated units such as those made unter the Par-Kut brand. In our experience it is best to view these shacks on foot.

Since then I've learned a bit more about the place of these shacks and the parking lots within the core of the city's economy. A view from above, from google earth perhaps shows the degree that downtown Providence has been hollowed out to create parking. Lots fronting major streets and interior blocks alike have been cleared and paved to create pay lots throughout the downtown area. It has been shared with me that not only does this represent a significant steady cash flow for the owners but that the cash heavy nature of the typical transaction creates opportunities for other operations. If for example you have something to sell, something that can't for various reasons be sold through traditional channels, you may be able to approach someone connected to one of these lots who will be willing to take it off your hands after a fairly negotiated price has been established. No further questions asked. The parking shack as underground trading post. Proceed with caution if you desire to explore this further.