“Only you, would purposely visit a car park on holiday Yasumi!”, said my boss to me, after listening to me babble on about our time in Porto.
After booking our accommodation, Hiro (who is obsessed maps) decided to look up the location of the hotel on Google Maps and came across a curious circular landmark on the aerial views. When we actually arrived in Porto, we discovered that the circular structure was in fact a beautifully Brutalist car park. Its imposing presence, prominent position and shape abruptly contrasts with its surroundings. Standing firm among the architectural chronology in buildings that flank it, it just beguiled us. It got our minds flirting with ideas of how it could be re-purposed. We begun to imagine it as a creative venue or even a stunning art gallery.
Though it is only a car park and an unlikely setting for any sort of epiphany, it made us realise that by challenging ourselves with a different view point, we offer ourselves an alternative visual and contemplative perspective. Here the glass-less windows frame sweeping views across Porto. Exposed to the touch of the wind we felt more connected to the flow of the city. Even the shadows played their part in our experience by directing our eyes across the curves and lines of the structure leaving quite an extraordinary feeling.
So our advice to other curious minds is to twist your tourist maps and try looking at the places you visit from a less obvious (and less sign posted) vantage point. You will be rewarded with an eye-opening experience.