One of the biggest problems with the single-family home is the garage: its design (apparently an afterthought in many cases), its size, and its placement. The norm, an attached multi-car garage often closer to the street than the front door, needs improvement. This ideabook takes a broad look at garages as well as carports and driveways to see how the storage of cars can be better integrated into the design of houses.
This garage leaps off the screen for the translucent doors that stand out at night. But it’s safe to assume that most of the time the lights are off and the wood screen predominates, just as during the day. These horizontal slats continue in a band across the front of the house, creating a strong link between the two; this is strengthened in the garage’s roof doubling as a terrace for the master bedroom.
A similar maneuver is found in this house, in the way the one-story wood expression layered in the front continues across to the garage on the left.
A four-car garage is unwieldy whatever the circumstances may be, but the architects on this project created four distinct doors, instead of two bigger ones. Above is a cantilevered glass volume that utilizes the roof above the garage for a terrace.
This contemporary house — two boxes with large irregular glass openings — incorporates the garage by continuing the irregular nature of the windows above. The garage is tight to the corner, showing the depth of the exterior wall in the process. It’s a unique design, but one can learn from it how the garage can be integrated with the house, both physically and in terms of style.
The next batch of examples are what I call the “village approach.” Both the house and garage are composed of smaller volumes, sometimes literally but in most cases formally through the articulation of roofs and exterior walls. In this example the garage, covered in wood with a translucent door, fronts a house that is highly articulated modern composition.
Various roofs and overhangs give this L-shaped house some character. The garage and entry face a generous forecourt, but the presence of the former is softened by a trellis, a green roof and other vegetation.
The garage (left) and farmhouse (right) are linked by a covered walkway that is echoed in the design of the house.
The village comparison is quite strong in this huge, 11,000-square-foot house. Here we see the multi-car garage and an arched opening …
… The opening leads to a village-like “street” between the garage and the main house.
A new garage can be found to the left of this house. A closer look beyond the gate between the two volumes reveals …
… a quaint walkway linking the garage and house. A sliding metal door provides access to and from the garage, an interesting touch.
But let’s not forget city dwellings, where a village approach is quite difficult. Small lots require other solutions, such as this ground-floor garage that has a similar appearance to the windows above.
At the very least the way the windows are stacked above the garage and entry give the facade a logic, even though each pieces is detailed differently.
This garage at the rear of a house actually puts the car on display.
At the rear of this narrow townhouse is the ground-floor garage, which is integrated with the window above, so the a two-story opening is made in the brick wall.
The zone in front of the garage is just as important as, say, the garage door or where the garage is located relative to the house. An increasingly popular approach is to use a drivable grass surface, be it a product that is hidden beneath the blades or incorporating grass between pavers. Grass paving allows water that would normally run into the street and sewer to enter the ground and be naturally filtered. Here grass is found next to the garage, at the bottom of a more traditional driveway.
The pattern in this lawn points to how it is a hybrid surface that can be driven upon.
That same pattern is visible at the front of this house, pointing to its use as a parking space, and making a segue into the next group of projects: carports.
First are a couple projects that combine garages and carports. Here we see the two side by side, which makes sense in the South Carolina locale.
A more modern and disconnected take can be found in this example. Following the driveway that moves from right to left in the photo we come across first a carport under the corner of the house; at far left is a driveway extension that heads back to the garage at the rear.
In this example the carport is linked to the house via a roof extension. The columns holding up the roof help demarcate the two parking spaces.
This striking house uses a dramatic roof form as a cover for parked cars. Entrance to the house is down some steps barely visible at right.
Goring & Straja Architects
Last is this interesting house that features a freestanding wood construction (visible in the photo at right) as a carport in front of the house.
Goring & Straja Architects
Up close, this construction features a lot of detail and a translucent cover that lightens the space under the roof. It’s an idiosyncratic design that is much simpler and more lighthearted than the typical suburban garage. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here.