Galvanize It! Online Seminar


When approaching the materials and design of a parking garage, specifiers should examine how the new structure will affect the surrounding community, both immediately as well as into the future. A critical element of sustainable design, social benefits must be addressed in conjunction with the planning of a structure's function.

The client and community need a structure that services many needs - the project must be an attractive, well designed, economical, and structurally sound product that will provide users with seamless service and functionality, as well as be a source of pride for the community. Using hot-dip galvanized steel as the core frame of a new parking garage, designers can address these needs by providing the following benefits.

University of Windsor Parking Structure

Attractive Façade Options

Incorporating hot-dip galvanized steel into a structure can unlock a wide canvas of aesthetic possibilities affecting both beauty and functionality. A parking garage is often the first impression a visitor encounters when approaching a building - a gateway accompaniment to the flagship structure. Not limited by the weight and constraints of concrete exteriors, steel façade elements can take on a variety of appearances. Features such as streamlined steel cable supports; sleek, modern railings; elaborate decorative paneling, and more can all be incorporated to complement the structure of the facility.

Hot-dip galvanized steel will support these complementary features by protecting them from unsightly rust stains and streaks. As the aforementioned features will be constantly exposed to the damaging effects of sun, wind, water, and industrial pollution, a natural, attractive corrosion protection system must be implemented. The cool metallic sheen of galvanized steel is a desirable look itself, but the system is also proven to keep the unattractive effects of corrosion at bay for 70+ years. This keeps exposed elements, particularly façades, looking their best for generations to come.

The Wave

Flexible Steel Shapes

Not only can a wide array of designs and façades be easily affixed to the core steel structure, the steel itself can be arched and bent into striking shapes. One obvious place to take advantage of this flexibility is in the exterior façade. Bending and curving the steel to look like waves, concave and convex, or any other non linear shape you can imagine is possible.

In addition to the façade, the structural and other necessary elements such as staircases and canopies become part of the overall design and appeal of the structure. Galvanized steel allows for exceptional flexibility and styling to all of these typically boring elements, creating a striking welcome to all who enter.

Hambro Portable Parking Structure

Open, Inviting

In addition to a beautiful exterior, an aesthetically pleasing, breezy interior also lends itself to increased functionality. Concrete structures often call for weighty interior shear walls to support the burden of lateral loads. Such a system leaves the garage feeling heavy and blocked in, like a cumbersome gray hedge maze visitors quickly seek to exit or even avoid altogether. Contrarily, use of light long-span steel beams means only small columns are required to get the job done. These slender vertical beams create more space so vehicles can maneuver throughout the structure with ease. Lean and strong, a steel core structure creates a well lit, open, and inviting garage.

Appearance Case Studies

The following projects highlight the versatile appearance options available when using hot-dip galvanized steel.

Humber College Parking Structure- Toronto, ON, Canada 2019

Humber College Garage 06

During the planning stage, Humber College sought out a design-build solution for the parking garage. It was important to the college the contractor was able to deliver key building traits including energy efficiency, low capital cost, low maintenance cost, and be environmentally responsible. They envisioned their design to be long-lasting, safe, secure, and user-friendly, with transparency and security built in, including no columns in the design. However, the wish-list didn’t stop there, Humber College required the architecture of the building to blend in to the surroundings, and they also sought to generate energy from the building, making it a power station for the college. 

Newton Group Ltd., an original building systems manufacturer and design build general contracting company, was confident they could deliver on the project requirements and were awarded the contract. They used the CANADACAR Parking System, a steel structured building tailor made for parking with an ultra-high-performance concrete deck system. The steel and concrete work in synergy to secure the longevity, reduce construction height, and lower maintenance of the building. All steel components of the main and secondary structure as well as miscellaneous metals were hot-dip galvanized to secure the long-term durability of the building and low maintenance requirement.

Goodale Street Parking Garage - Columbus, OH, 2016


The new Goodale Parking Garage was installed to meet increased demand for parking near the Convention Center and Short North District. The parking facility was constructed on the side of an old surface lot which accommodated 192 cars. The eight story, $18 million parking deck can house 800 cars on the north side of the Convention Center.

The façade of the beautiful garage includes an LED lighting system that illuminates the structure at night. In 2017, a new skywalk bridge will be added to facilitate the entrance from the garage into the convention center. One unique, interesting aspect of the new garage is it was built at no cost to taxpayers. The income generated by the garage will pay the associated costs for construction.

The architect for the Goodale project has specified hot-dip galvanized steel (HDG) for years. Hot-dip galvanizing provided design freedom for the overall aesthetic of the garage, while providing durability and low cost-both initially and in the life-cycle. Furthermore, the sustainable aspects of hot-dip galvanizing including its 100% recyclability were a plus and helped the facility achieve LEED® status, as all new projects in Columbus, Ohio strive for.