Comment of the Day: Why That Midcentury Modern House Has No Garage

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY THAT MIDCENTURY MODERN HOUSE HAS NO GARAGE “The lack of enclosed garages on Post-war Modern homes has more to do with architects designing homes around the occupants and their lifestyle – in other words, the car was provided a resting place (sometimes covered, sometimes not) but the garage was likely seen as an excessive element to the Modernist spirit. More significantly, the consumer culture – a.k.a. conspicuous consumption – was not as rampant in the 1950’s and 60’s as it became in the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. All one needs to do is to review total square footage dedicated to storage/closets in Modernist homes in contrast to contemporary homes – this exercise is further validated by looking at storage/closets in pre-WW2 homes. Tiny. Take a look at a typical contemporary garage and you’ll find a plethora of things [previously] not commonly found in a garage prior to 1970. The garage has primarily become a storage room – and in its worst case, even the car is pushed out of its designated shelter. To live modern is to live with the essentials.” [JAH, commenting on Behind the Westminster Wall, Still Modern After All These Years]

6 Comment

  • How does a Modernist keep their car from getting broken into?

  • they enclose the carports.

  • Typical artsy-fartsy architect, wasting all those words and still missing the point.

    House size, garage size, and closet size in homes from various eras are a function of the workforce participation rate among women and the increasing availability of credit. Dual incomes and the ability to leverage them made larger homes, multiple cars, and other material possessions more affordable to a greater percentage of buyers of new homes.

  • This neighborhood also used to have a restriction on which way a garage door could face. If you had a garage door, it couldn’t face the street. So building a garage onto this house would have either taken much more of the property due to much more driveway (the preferred method of putting in a garage was to build it behind the house at which point you’d have to make a u-turn to get into it) or made the house much smaller (or both).

  • I’m thinking Cindy’s got it. A house this big and this far out would have required at least one car and a significant commute. In fact, she may really be on to something. THIS may be why we see so many carports and porte-cocheres in Memorial houses of this period. Not because it was an architectural decision or because cars were less important.

  • So where’s the carport?