Lighting is not only an important consideration in the functional design of a parking garage, but also a critical factor in the user experience. Dark, cramped structures feel unsafe and do not attract patrons while open, well lit structures with good ventilation feel safe, secure and invite users.
Achieving natural light and air in structured parking often requires provisions such as lightwells. Lightwells or air shafts are an unroofed external space provided within the volume of a large building to allow light and air to reach what would otherwise be a dark and less ventilated area.
In a below grade parking structure, lightwells can sometimes be achieved by surrounding the structure with permanent shoring walls or by sloping back the soil around the structure. In addition to the user experience and functional benefits, utilizing lightwells have both economic and environmental benefits of reducing overall energy demands.