By Nadja Sayej,
Read the original article here.
For some luxury automobile fanatics, a garage won’t cut it. To meet growing demand for innovative places to park six-or seven-figure rides, a new trend has emerged in high-end design: Carchitecture.
In Shenzhen, China, O-Office Architects converted a textile factory to house a client’s Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale. In Bruges, Belgium, Basil Architecture helped an owner of a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 14 convert his own apartment into a parkade.
Other architecture firms working with car-led design include Diego Guayasamin Architects in Quito, Ecuador; Smertnik Kraut Architekten in Vienna, Austria; and S3 Architecture, based in Rhinebeck, N.Y.
“Clients are choosing to have their cars in their homes and apartments, even at penthouse level, as a celebration of the car as a design object,” says architect Etienne Borgos, co-director of Borgos Pieper Architecture and Design Studio based in London and Barcelona. “It’s taking car ownership to the next level.”
The movement started long before it even had a name. Iconic architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier were so influenced by car design that they designed their own automobiles, too.
In the 1950s, car dealerships displayed vehicles in glass-clad showrooms, which many architects have used as a reference for designs today. In places like Palm Springs, Calif., owners would often buy cars that matched their homes. “These homes each have a perfectly matching car, and it almost looks like these cars were chosen as the perfect accessory for the house,” says Demeulemeester.
“The word ‘carchitecture’ is about the obsession of architects about cars, but also about car design that has a link to architecture,” Demeulemeester says. “As an architectural feature, the garage is essentially designed to protect a car from snow, rain, and wind, but some architects have used the garage as a place to showcase a car or a collection of cars. In the book, we call them ‘car cabinets’ in glass.”
Both car design and carchitecture take tips from nautical design, Demeulemeester says. “You could argue that some architectural movements, like brutalism or art deco, also had its equivalent in car design,” he said. “In the art deco period, the streamline modern style—inspired by boats—was really an inspiring period for car manufacturers. You can tell by the shape of the cars that they were designed in the interwar ‘Great Gatsby’ period.”
Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron’s Miami tower at 1111 Lincoln Road has its own concrete, open-concept car garage that displays multiple cars.
How does a car make it to an upper-floor apartment? Some architecture uses elegant ramp systems, while others incorporate elevators, like at the Aston Martin Tower in Miami, which can carry a car up to the 50th floor. In 2011, Annabelle Selldorf, a German architect, designed a tower where residents could drive their cars directly into their apartments through a private elevator specifically for cars.
Some firms seek to showcase multiple automobiles. Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron’s Miami tower at 1111 Lincoln Road has its own concrete, open-concept car garage that displays multiple cars. At night, the parking tower lights up each floor with flood lights.
Demeulemeester says that thanks to the rise of electric cars, some people might park their cars directly in their living rooms. “You don’t need a garage anymore because the car won’t smell like gasoline,” he says. “So perhaps, in the future, that will influence the way carchitecture is designed. Maybe the garage will be more integrated into the living areas of the house. It’s an evolution.”