The Parking des Machines is a multi-storey car park in Nantes, France designed by the architects Bernard et Clotilde Barto. The car park is named after the neighbouring site, the "Machines de l'Ile", where groups of engineers are constructing larger-than-life moving machines in the former halls of the French engineering firm Alsthom which have become a major tourist attraction. The parking is located on the "Ile de Nantes" an island of 37 hectares on the Loire river which has a long-standing tradition as an industrial site for the shipbuilding industry and is currently undergoing reconstruction.
The design concept is inspired by aspects of naval construction. Therefore a metal structure was used for the parking. It is open on three sides and receives natural light and ventilation. It derives its strength from its substantial length and from the repetition of identical metallic elements.
A strong defining feature of the project is its connection with open space. The pedestrian is led through a secured passageway exposed to natural light which allows glances of the city's skyline not unlike the railing of an ocean liner from which one can lean during arrival or departure to contemplate a city. A phenomenon coined "Blanc/Black" by the architects are the alternating vistas of the dark intense interior and the white daylight structure of passageways and metal frames a viewer is confronted with.
The project is also innovative on a technical level."H" poles with a range of 16 meters were used to accommodate nearly thousand parking spaces of 2.60 meters without a pole. The parking has seven levels, separated by half-levels and can be adapted to changing future needs. The whole structure can be easily dismantled or transformed into offices.