Ohlone College is embarking on an extensive rebuilding program, and one of its components is a new 900-car parking structure. Currently, the bulk of Ohlone College’s parking lies at the foot of a hillside, a five to ten minute walk uphill to reach the campus’ core academic buildings. This new structure is built into the hillside, allowing for greater accessibility and bringing parking to the same elevation as the academic campus. Adhering to Ohlone’s mission of emulating Native American traditions of sustainable land management and promoting awareness of their cultural heritage, the garage’s design incorporates aspects of Ohlone traditions and practices in architectural expression and landscape design. Exterior panels are constructed of Resysta, a fiber-reinforced hybrid material made of 60% rice husks, 22% common salt, and 18% mineral oil, making it both environmentally friendly and extremely weather resistant.
In addition, any unused construction materials will be repurposed for future Ohlone construction projects. The structure’s design also considers the environment aesthetically. From initial planning, the design process used the context of Ohlone’s hillside, resulting in a structure that rises naturally with the sloped landscape rather than towering above the hills. The elegant profile contrasts sharply with the typical utilitarian edifices that parking structures bring to mind.