The second to last post outlined the design problem with trying to design a traditional garage when Jefferson Parish’s zoning limits garages outside of the main house’s buildable area to be no higher than 13 feet. The link to that post is here: http://michaelrouchell.posterous.com/why-is-it-so-difficult-to-design-a-garage-in.
The last post showed examples of how other architects and designers solved the problem, either by providing a flat roof, a low pitched roof, or preserving an existing accessory structure and renovating it to match the new house. The link to that post is here: http://michaelrouchell.posterous.com/why-is-it-so-difficult-to-design-a-garage-in-0.
This post describes how I solved the problem for the attached garage proposed for the residence at 450 Betz Place in Old Metairie.
The earlier designs had the gable roof of the garage perpendicular to the main house, matching the same roof pitch as the main house, and springing from the same eave height as the main house. Because the house is proposed to have 10 foot high ceilings on the first floor and be raised above grade, the garage already exceeded the height limit without any pitched roof. An alternate roof design with a gable garage roof parallel to the main house was explored to avoid conflict with overhead electrical and communication wires located at the rear of the property. As it turns out, this design provided some opportunities that were not available with the earlier design. One was the creation of a inconspicuous location for air conditioning equipment. The other is a separation between the main house’s roof eave and the garage’s roof eave that allows the flexibility of setting the roof of the garage at a lower elevation. This was not achievable on the earlier design due to the continuity of the roof eave of the garage tying into the rear porch and rear of the house; it would have looked awkward breaking that continuous eave just for the sake of lowering the garage roof. However, one of the problems with lowering the garage roof was that the roof eave facing the house would conflict with the arched opening at the breezeway. So instead of a roof eave, the gutter is contained behind the garage wall at this one location. A scupper on the front façade of the garage drains the gutter into a leader head and downspout.
The height of the arched garage door was reduced slightly to fit under the reduced scale of the garage façade, and the result was that the garage exceeded the height limit by just over 18 inches, rather than approximately 6 feet as with the original design. I felt that I could not possibly lower the roof any further, nor could I reduce the pitch of the roof. What I came up with to bring it into compliance with the 13 foot height limitation is something kind of like a hybrid gambrel roof on the side of the garage facing the rear property line. By bringing the eave height down 3 feet, and leaving the ridge at the desired height, brings the mid height of the roof down 18 inches. As a result, the window on this elevation now becomes a half dormer with a Dutch Colonial shed dormer roof.
By this manipulation of the roof, I am able to preserve the proportions of the garage façade facing Geranium Street. The half gambrel roof is not visible from the rear yard or from the corner of Geranium and Betz Streets; it is only slightly visible where not concealed by the rear property owner’s garage. In addition, I proposed some trellises that would extend up above the 6 foot high roof eave that would help conceal it with some natural vegetation.
The Old Metairie Commission was pleased that I had found a way to legally bring down the height of the garage to the 13 foot height, and I was pleased that the garage retains the same height and mass as what was submitted.