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"House of Cars" at the National Building Museum proves that the parking garage can be an urban asset, even a beautiful structure to behold. This fascinating exhibition traces the history of the prosaic building type, from horse stables used for auto storage to a pool-topped car shed at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo.

The concept for the show was brought to the museum by Shannon Sanders McDonald, author of the 2007 book "The Parking Garage: Design and Evolution of a Modern Urban Form." Curator Sarah Leavitt worked with exhibit designer Patrick Rogan to expand Ms. McDonald's ideas through an animated installation of photos, architectural models, drawings, artworks and film clips.

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