Two giant lifts are concealed in the base of this garage in Switzerland, providing access to a secret underground space where a member of a royal family stores vintage cars and motorcycles (+ slideshow).
The subterranean garage was designed by Geneva studio B29 for a home near Lake Geneva, where the owner – an undisclosed royal – keeps his classic cars and motorcycles, including an Austin Healey Sprite.
The building provides security for the valuable vehicles, as well as freeing up space ground level to create a “paddock area” for manoeuvring.
“The first purpose of this building was to case a collection of motorcycles and luxury cars,” studio founder Thomas Bregman. “It is kind of a man cave, or a James Bond super garage that our client ordered.”
“We were interested in building a project like a tailor would cut a suit for his client,” he added.
The two car-sized lifts are operated by giant electric pistons and are sheltered beneath a 7.5-metre-long pitched roof. This is supported at one end by a small semi-glazed enclosure, which can be used for extra parking and maintenance.
The linear roof is modelled on a 19th-century stable block, but instead of the traditional timber bracing, the structure is built from concrete and brick.
“Nowadays, the racehorses are replaced by powerful engines and special custom cars cherished by their owners,” said the architect.
The pre-stressed V-beam was designed by Swiss firm SB Engineer to resist winter snow falls and strong winds.
Below ground, the internal conditions of the garage – including temperature, lighting and humidity – can be controlled from an app on the client’s mobile phone. The app also delivers feedback on the building’s energy consumption.
Similarly, an electric car is parked in the living room of a former carpenter’s workshop in the Netherlands, which Rotterdam studio OxL converted into a home.
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