Parking Tower San Rendering

Contemporary developments in transportation technology are changing how we drive, store, and power vehicles. What opportunities do these new technologies represent for design?  What does this mean for the future of roadside architecture, and can we re-think the relationship between car and city?

Asked to develop a concept for an electric car charging station for a new urban development in Shanghai, Ennead Lab created the Charging Tower, a urban roadside beacon for electric cars.

Unlike filling up a car at a gas station, charging an electric car takes a larger investment of time from the driver. Currently, there are two options for charging an electric vehicle: a super charge or a standard charge. A super charge utilizes both alternating and direct current simultaneously to provide a vehicle with over 100 miles of charge in only 25 minutes. Such a system is best used by drivers who are still on their way to their destination or need the extra miles to get home. On the other hand, the standard charge method will take up to five hours to achieve the same level of charge. Both systems raise the question: what does the driver do while the car is charging?  

In order to accommodate both a small, urban, pedestrian-friendly site and to maximize the number of cars simultaneously utilizing a standard charging system, we combined existing charger technologies with existing stack-parking technologies to create a “Charging Tower.”    At the ground level, super-charge stations are housed beneath a light-weight canopy. The parking towers above are clad in a reflective, perforated metal, creating a beacon to passersby.

​Electric Car Charging Tower featured in Electrek Article

Electric Car Charging Tower featured in Electrek Article, "An innovative concept for charging electric vehicles in cities: the charging tower" 


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Electric Car Charging Tower featured in Yahoo Finance Article

Electric Car Charging Tower featured in Yahoo Finance Article, "Could this electric-car Charging Tower mean the end of gas stations?"


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Electric Car Charging Tower featured in Designboom

Electric Car Charging Tower featured in Designboom article written by Beatrice Murray-Nag "Ennead Lab Plans Shanghai Charging Tower as the 'Gas Station of the Future'" 


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Electric Car Charging Tower featured in Architect

Electric Car Charging Tower featured in Architect article written by Nicholas Korody "Ennead Architects Envisions the 'Car Towers' of the Near Electric-Car Future" 

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