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House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage

October 17, 2009 - July 11, 2010

Media Resources

House of Cars: Press Kit

Also of Interest

PMI Parking Garage, Washington, DC
Anice Hoachlander, Historic American Buildings Survey

Cars. We imagine them always in motion, but they spend most of their time at rest. 

We have all spent time in parking garages, but we rarely stop to think about what they have meant for our cities and ourselves. House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage explores the unique relationship between parked cars and the built environment and encourages visitors to see these familiar structures in a whole new way. A showcase for innovation; a training ground for the 20th century's best-known architects; and now, a new direction for sustainable city planning; the parking garage tells many stories.

As soon as there were cars, there was a parking problem, and cities responded both by finding ways to fit cars into old structures – such as carriage houses – and inventing a new building type made specifically for automobile storage. As the parking garage's building type evolved, innovative engineers explored the best ways to lay out parking places and create structural systems to accommodate both cars and people.

The parking garage may have a reputation as an eyesore, but House of Cars challenges this notion using examples of well-designed garages that add a creative tapestry to our streetscapes. It concludes with the question, "What does the future hold for parking?" and invites visitors to think about new types of parking solutions.

FOCUS ON: Contemporary Artwork in House of Cars

A terrific array of artwork features the iconic garage form. A number of artists were recommended to the curatorial team as the exhibition was being developed, and we were lucky to discover some others on our own. As a result, the exhibition includes a gallery devoted to the parking garage in art and the popular imagination.


Press Inquiries

For more information about House of Cars, contact the Marketing and Communications Department or call 202.272.2448, ext. 2458.


Take a docent led tour of the exhibition House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage. Docents guided tours of the exhibitions are approximately 45 minutes, and will explore various elements of the exhibition in-depth. Tours start November 13, for more information click here.

Current Sponsors

(as of October 20, 2009):

Presenting Sponsor


National Parking Association




Patron Sponsor


Skidmore Owings Merrill






Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP

The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

Colonial Parking, Inc.




Brett Harwood Ventures

Carl Walker, Inc.


Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners, with International Parking Design

Tech Painting Company

WPS North America


Official Media Partner


 McGraw-Hill Construction




Curator: Sarah A. Leavitt

Assistant Curator, Media Producer: Deborah Sorensen

Curatorial Assistant: Stephanie Anderson Hess

Exhibition Design: Patrick Rogan, Assemble

Graphic Design: Jeanne Krohn, Krohn Design

Registrar: Shelagh Cole

Exhibition Coordinator: Hank Griffith

Exhibition Interactives: Willy Yonkers

Exhibition Consultant: Shannon Sanders McDonald, AIA
Exhibition Team: Hal Barthold, Catherine Frankel, Melissa Kennedy, Loren Miller, Mary Purcell, Nancy Van Meter