Thursday, February 17, 2005

When a three-car garage is not enough

In an earlier posting, UNplanning discussed the proliferation of garages in modern residential developments. No longer content to offer just the “standard” two car garage, a number of developers have taken to building standard three-car garage house subdivisions. Now whole neighborhoods sport an endless line of garage door faces. But recently UNplanning became aware of another brilliant idea in the development scene: the RV garage. No longer must you relegate that poor RV to life outside in the harsh elements while your cars live the high life protected from the weather. Here is a picture of one in all of its glory:

In reality this is yet another example of this nation’s excesses, a horrible scar on the urban landscape. For starters, the recreational vehicle is a particularly wasteful means of vacationing, whereby the occupants are “shielded” from having to travel and stay with strangers in a strange environment. Why share an airline ride with other travelers and stay in hotel bed that others have used when you can take it all with you, including the kitchen sink? RVs can get as little as 7 miles to the gallon (less if you tow) and take up a sizeable amount of road space. They also pose other potential environmental impacts including added air pollution (they are after all, glorified diesel busses) and sewage waste that needs to be—but isn’t always—properly disposed of.

Now you have a form of housing that incorporates and includes the RV as an element of the structure itself. This takes a bad aesthetic situation (the blank face of garage doors) and makes it worse by grossly distending the scale. You have what is essentially a commercial garage door similar to what you would expect to see at a firehouse or a body shop stuck right on the side of a residential building. In the above picture the RV garage door is the single most dominating element, despite being set back from the rest of the structure. Visually, the living quarters are more or less an afterthought to the vehicle storage for this structure. By obscuring the actual entrance to the house and downplaying the rest of the front elevation, it promotes the vehicle as the most important element in the design of this house.

Modern suburbia has long been designed for the motorized vehicle, though at times you will find some architects and developers that at least gloss over that fact by hiding the presence of vehicles by locating the garages at the side or over-accentuating the front entryway. Most developers however cannot be bothered and peddle the usual bland collection of copy-cat designs.

Unfortunately for the developers who build these monuments to cheap energy and the schmucks that buy them, energetic reality catch up with them and render these and other artifacts of industrialized civilization as useless as those haunting statues of Easter Island.


Blogger Mikhail Capone said...

I've never seen a RV garage here in Canada.

Awful stuff.

9/03/2005 8:29 PM  

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