The history of garages is richer than one might think. All throughout the world, garages are built in various ways, with different features that makes them unique. Although often overlooked, the garage is an integral part of a home, as it is the last thing one sees in the morning when leaving for work, and the first thing when coming back after a long day.
Whether we’re talking about an attached or detached garage, or the type of roof or insulation, each garage has different characteristics that make it interesting. Often, it tends to be dismissed as a smile storage unit, which in turn can make it an unappealing place in the house, as owners end up taking less care of it. Cracks in the floor and yellowing of the surface are among the first problems that appear, and if the issues aren’t fixed the whole place ends up looking grim.
The word itself (garage) was introduced in the English language in 1902, and it originates from the word garer, from French. As far as the doors of the garage are concerned, every country has a different ‘standard’. In Australia, for example, the most common is the strong sheet steel door, which slides up. They can be either manual or electric (which come with a remote control). On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, garage doors are fitted with metal up-and-over doors, whereas in the past the traditional doors were wooden, opening either by sliding horizontally or opening as two leaves.
A notable form of garage is also the modular one. Often built by the Amish community, they are pre-fabricated garages that can be delivered to the customer fully assembled. This can be a quick and easy solution for someone who is looking to have a garage without having to go through the building process. They come in various shapes and sizes, and the modular garage prices vary depending on the style picked out by the customer.
In the U.K. the popular name for the structures was ‘motor house’, which was used in the early 20th century. Many models from that era (specifically before 1914) were pre-fabricated, and they were mainly made of timber, but very few survived throughout the years.
Historically, the first private garages appeared way before the 1900s. The first public parking garage in the United States was built in 1898, in the United Kingdom in 1900, and in Germany in 1901. The Autocar issue from October 7, 1899, depicts presumably the oldest garage in the U.K., which is in Southport Lancashire. The garage was owned by a local doctor who was also a motoring pioneer.
Despite the fact that wealthy individuals acquired the services of famous architects in order to design their garages throughout the years, garage architecture was largely ignored by journals dedicated to architecture. The year 1908 marked one of the first time anything related to garage architecture was published – the information being published in The Builder magazine by Charles Harrison Townsend.