Reimagining a garage with light
Finnpark, a parking services developer and operator based in Tampere, Finland, is reimagining the boundaries of parking garages with the award-winning P-Hämppi car park. The first installment in Parkisto, a pervasive underground parking system intended to kick-start city development, P-Hämppi was unveiled in 2012, featuring a host of distinctive features that promote sustainability, economic growth, and widespread accessibility. In addition to boosting the city's parking capacity by almost 10%, the 650 m (2100 ft) long, two-story garage offers charging stations for electric vehicles, direct lift access to major business destinations, and a "foodstation" replete with restaurants and cafés.
P-Hämppi is also the first multi-story parking garage in all of Europe to replace fluorescent lights with an energy-efficient LED lighting solution — and a visually stunning one to boot. The state-of-the-art system, comprised of high-quality fixtures from Color Kinetics, merges notions of the interior and exterior, transforming the car park's "cave environment" into a backdrop for sweeping skyscapes and inviting pathways.
Finnpark wanted to aesthetically distinguish P-Hämppi from the stereotypical parking garage, using light as a vehicle to dispel unflattering connotations: dingy, cramped, unsettling. Tim Meuronen, architect at Aihio Arkkitehdit, devised a lighting plan that plays on the garage's expansive, sloping shape, suffusing rich light into even the remotest corners. "Our goal was to create exciting, diverse experiences throughout the car park by using indirect light to emphasize interesting architectural details, like high arches, in the excavated hall," he said.
Meuronen used 500 1.2 m (4 ft) ColorGraze Powercore luminaires, gradually shifting through phases of blue and white to turn the vaulted ceiling into a sky awash with drifting cumulus clouds. He applied a similar treatment to the glass walls of the elevator lobbies, illuminating them with pure white light at ground level, and a deepening blue as the elevator ascends. Elegant, white light from eW Fuse Powercore luminaires complements this effect, accentuating the elevator walls. A total of 480 1.2 m (4 ft) eW Graze luminaires line the sides of the intermediate parking levels, highlighting the cave-like texture of the walls and illuminating pockets of darkness. Finally, 14 ColorBlast Powercore luminaires bathe roundabouts in vibrant, color-changing light. Management also switches out the signature ceiling colors to signify special events, like a major sale in a department store.
In addition to transformative stylistic effects, the complete solution, which includes Philips StyliD and LuxSpace fixtures to round out the elevator illumination, delivers practical benefits and concrete savings. Meuronen used the luminaires' dynamic color-changing capabilities to assign individual color schemes to seven different sections of the garage, helping people remember where they parked. The entire system is controlled by a Light System Manager Ethernet lighting controller, which offers flexibility and easy programming — two key requirements for Finnpark. The adaptable controller allows management to reduce P-Hämppi's general lighting to 10% of capacity during off-peak hours. These energy savings are supplemented by decreased maintenance costs. For example, the durability and longevity of the LED luminaires minimizes the need for relamping. The system also enhances the car park's advanced security measures, providing superior light quality to the surveillance cameras' real-time license plate recognition software.
With its vibrant and revolutionary design, P-Hämppi has become an unlikely landmark in Tampere, earning a 2013 award for excellence in parking from the prestigious European Parking Association. But for Pasi Nevalainen, Property Manager at Finnpark, the residents' clear satisfaction is the most rewarding recognition. "The greatest feedback has come from the users," Nevalainen said. "They admire the hall — especially the striking lighting. P-Hämppi is Tampere's most exciting new attraction."