When faced with the task of renovating a 3,000 square foot garage into a 4,000 square foot contemporary residence in Detroit, Michigan, creative design consultant and architect Lakshan Glen worked diligently with the owners and the architects to create a unique and sustainable design for the garage that would show respect to its urban context while still honoring the old, discarded garage that had stood in that spot for a long time.

The result is a modern home with four bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, a two-story home tower, a storage and utility building, a two-car garage, a garage for two cars with two parking spaces, a large garage, a parking deck, a rooftop garden, and a riverfront entry/entrance.

In its renovation, the garage was expanded into an impressive 4,000 square feet, which became a bold, rectangular volume carved in granite. This vertical destruction of the driveway opens up access to a wide and seamless area of parking space while also providing a dramatic reminder of the size of the garage, if it’s even possible.

Through the renovation, a wide swath of the top floor was removed of the garage thereby opening up a beautiful, sunny roof deck that serves as an outdoor living and dining space.

Fifth Avenue Garage by McGlashan Architecture:

“The owner of this garage challenged our firm to work together as a team to create a truly modern home and to heighten the modern opportunities provided by a location such as this. Finding common ground in the design of the home and its reflection of its surrounds, the design is mingled with the surrounding details of environmental scale and neighborhood vibe.

A garage is inherently a mixed use building, contrary to many architects’ belief and much of the property around it has been designed in place. Our client desired a home whose exterior spaces were rich, open, and practical, which would be an extension of the interior spaces.

The garage is at the rear, interior spaces are dense and almost invisible. It is our hope that the amount of natural light that penetrates the space through the garage is amplified, and that the clarity of the vision resulting from this filtering light quality influences the ease with which one experiences the overall composition.

The site is a narrow, highly-detailed property, narrowing down to its max. 6’x. 20’x. The depth of the lot is only an 8’x16’ slot. One challenge of the design was to provide the building a sense of seclusion while still providing privacy, both in all of the primary living areas of the house and in a small secondary loft space which acts as a semi-outdoor room.

A row of skylights (built-in horizontal slits) is designed to feed into the apex of the garage (and as, in turn, into the roof). The opening is 13”x12? clear (not quite deep enough to block the view completely yet to provide visual block).

Most of the spaces in the front of the house (inner and exterior) are double height. The living room has double ceiling height in the study and living room. A large window takes up most of the front wall. A custom wood ceiling and skylight (built-in white aluminum shades) provide enough light for the room to be filled with natural sunlight.

Again, emphasizing the sense of openness, the view from the home’s rear is augmented from a distance by a series of windowless couches and expansive view-able couches.”

Photos by: Paul Warchol Photography

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