Say Goodbye to Roller Doors and Hello to Garages That Wow

When I studied architecture at the University of Melbourne, there was a particular design lecture that stood out and has since stuck with me for my entire architectural career. It wasn’t so much a topic, but a design tool or philosophy. In fact, it has gotten me out of trouble many times and resolved a particular design solution when all other solutions seemed hopeless.

It sounds like a magic cure but it isn’t. The lesson is as follows: If you can’t hide a particularly ugly, large, small or significant or not so significant architectural feature, be it an existing one or one that has been introduced for necessity or to meet regulatory requirements, then do the opposite and show it off. This sounds simplistic, but believe me, it isn’t always that easy. However, if you can pull it off, you will be praised for creating an inspiring design solution. An example might be the necessity for a structural steel beam to run right through a room where hiding it is not possible – show it off, paint it red and hang lights from it, and suddenly it becomes the central focus.

So how does the design of the humble garage fit into this way of thinking? In my opinion, the design of garages has always been neglected or cast to the ‘too hard’ basket. They are the elephant in the room. They are large spaces, commanding the most prominent parts of homes, yet they are seen as utilitarian spaces, there merely to house the family car. They have the ability to both destroy and complement the design of any home. So let’s not hide or neglect the design of your garage but create a garage that packs wow factor. Here are 10 ideas for a garage that makes a statement.

1. Central feature
This warehouse conversion seeks to explore the very essence of warehouse living by inviting you into the spaces beyond the facade to explore the rich internal elements that lie within. To tantalise the tastebuds, the garage is used as a central design element that allows you to see inside. It is both the entryway and the entry to the architecturally designed interiors. The garage design is both simple and integral to the external architecture. Make your garage the central focus of your design and you just might be rewarded.
2. Garden element 
This garage sits very close to the street frontage where the public interface is very important. The facade of this home could have easily been dominated by an alternative selected garage door, creating a perception that the architects may have not necessarily wanted. The architects softened this public interface by cladding the door with vertical timber battens that appear to be fence-like in their repetition, like the adjacent garden gates. The design of the garage door becomes part of the overall garden design and is read as a garden element and not an architectural feature of the house.
3. Sculptural form
A garage doesn’t have to be part of a house or a side entry point, but can exude its own sculptural elements – that is, be a stand-alone piece of architecture with wow factor. This garage is clad in a ribbed copper material that allows you to read the form of the garage while at the same time leads your eye into the heart of the home to reveal another curved sculptural form sitting atop. The garage is non-traditional in shape other than its elongated form and is read from both the front and sides.
4. Linking
This garage provides the wow factor in a very different way – it is the link between two strong architectural forms. The cars are housed in a central wing with transparent glazing revealing the contents within. The glazing is the only transparent face on the building so your eyes are drawn to the garage in the anticipation of discovering what lies within.
5. Transparency
It is always difficult to hide the bulk of a garage form when the form itself dominates the home’s facade. As mentioned in my introduction, if you can’t hide it, show it off. Here, the designers have created a very traditional garage form, but there is a lightness and transparency in the design that allows you to see through the architectural elements, such as the slatted parapet wall and the garage door itself that at night acts as a lantern eroding the more solid elements.
6. Proportion and details
A garage can sometimes have wow factor because its proportions and details work so well with the rest of a home’s architectural language. As mentioned previously, so often the garage is cast to the side with two unassuming roller doors, making no effort to be part of the overall design. Considerable design thought has gone into this garage to insure that it incorporates many of the elements found in the architecture of this luxury home, such as the vertical and horizontal banding, the colour, and the proportions of the door openings. A pergola seamlessly glides over the top of the doors to create a canopy and link to the rest of the home.
7. Selective materials
It is so difficult to limit the selection of materials in a home when you want to showcase the form rather than any other architectural philosophy. How can you incorporate a garage so that it doesn’t look like an afterthought or an add on, or even harder, incorporates the architectural language you are demonstrating?The builders at Horizon Habitats have captured the exact detailing proposed by the designers in this contemporary home. Each floor, with its horizontal white concrete mass, sandwiches the natural recessed material of timber. Even more impressive is that it is carried down to the ground-floor garage where the garage doors are clad in timber.
8. Showroom 
Sometimes the garage has wow factor because it isn’t treated like a garage but rather a showroom, a room that does more than house your car, and actually shows it off. It has all the characteristics of an internal room with glamorous lighting and external sex appeal. Love the Ferrari.
9. Camouflage
Now you see it, now you don’t. How do you create wow factor in a heritage-listed building or a home that has limited scope to house a garage? Well here, the architects have hidden the garage behind the bay window of the home. Using pneumatic arms, the bay window opens up to reveal the single car garage without destroying the integrity of the facade. In its closed position the house is restored.
10. Craftsmanship
There is a sense of anticipation and excitement about this barn-like garage with its traditional use of timber and timber detailing. More so, the excitement is built up because of the exquisite doors crafted by Whetstone Windows & DoorsThe doors act like a curtain. Unlike most garage doors that slide up, these slide across the opening like a curtain at the theater to reveal the opening act. You may drive past many garages without giving a thought to their contents, but this garage seems to beckon you inside.