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Absolute Autohaus

While car collectors have been populating their garages with rare and prized wheels for ages, today’s true aficionados are building homes around their high-performance vehicles.

BY September 16, 2021

Generally speaking, if you’re living in your car, things are probably not going so well. But living with your car? Now, that can be very, very good. Americans have long been obsessed with our automobiles, so it should come as no surprise that we have evolved from on-street parking to detached garages to what can only be called car-habitation—stunning homes where the vehicles are the focal point, or at the very least a strong consideration. And we’re not talking about the so-yesterday craze of car condos—those off-site spaces to house your toys in a setting reminiscent of a man cave. These are design schemes in primary homes that are driven by cars parked in the living space. That’s right: You can take in gleaming chrome and polished fenders from the comforts of the Chesterfield sofa.

Things have come a long way since Frank Lloyd Wright designed what is considered to be the first in-home garage in 1910. Now visionaries, like Yoshi Architects in Japan (pictured) and Stofft Cooney Architects in Naples, design spaces centered around shiny vehicles. (Courtesy Yoshi Architects/Eiji Tomita)

Depending on your ride, the idea isn’t as out there as you might think. Many automobiles are considered works of art. New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) houses such classics as the 1963 Jaguar E-Type RoadTster, 1965 F.A. “Butzi” Porsche 911 and 1973 Citroën DS 23, among others. Architect John Cooney, of  Stofft Cooney Architects, has seen this trend coming for a while. “Over the last five to eight years there has been a significant push for more garage space,” he says. “I can’t get enough garages into our residences.” And while the team has built showcase garages in the past for star-studded collections, the architect says demand is steering in a whole new direction. He and his team are currently working on a single-family residence with a typical two-car garage and a six-car showroom that allows for one car to be parked inside the home itself. Folding glass doors and a special ventilation system keep fumes out of the main living area while driving in and out. But once inside and turned off, the glass walls can slide back, allowing for the car to be appreciated up close and personal.

For those who want to take it up a notch, Aston Martin now has an Automative Lairs and Galleries division that allows enthusiasts to design showpiece garages like this one in Pebble Beach. (Courtesy Aston Martin)
Just across Alligator Alley in Miami, Porsche Design Tower debuted in 2017 with elevators that carry vehicles from the three-story lobby (where all those watching can admire) directly into the condos’ personal glass-encased garages that display the automobiles like art. (Courtesy Porsche Design Tower)
Also in Miami, the Aston Martin Residences design follows automotive aesthetics and engineering. Door handles feature the same hand-stitched leather used for the maker’s vehicles, and furniture is made from the signature carbon fiber and aniline leather in the top-of-the-line 820bhp Vulcan racer. (Courtesy Aston Martin)

Things have  certanly come a long way since Frank Lloyd Wright, an avid motorhead, designed what is considered to be the first in-home garage (a three-level space with an area for a car wash and a pit for working on repairs) in Chicago in 1910. And, for a certain class of car lovers, serving up a souped-up automobile in a common area is a no-brainer. Investor Phillip Sarofim loves restoring classic cars in his spare time so much that he thinks nothing of showcasing his 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero in the Miles Redd-designed dining room of his Los Angeles home. Then there’s Billionaire, a high-profile home listed in 2017 for a record-breaking $250 million in Bel Air Amenities included a fleet of collector cars worth $30 million housed throughout the first floor. The concept was an inspiration to automakers all over the world.

And that includes Florida. Just across Alligator Alley, in 2017, Porsche opened its stunning Porsche Design Tower Miami, a 57-story, ultraluxury condominium on Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach, just north of Bal Harbour. With 132 units priced from $3.5 million to $17 million, the gleaming spaces aren’t notable for their soaring views or amazing design cues (although both are spectacular). No, everyone is talking about the robotic car lift that delivers your ride right to your unit, no matter the floor. The garages are walled in glass, so you can see your baby (or babies) from your living space. And the three-story lobby features a full-glass car lift observatory, where residents and visitors can watch all manner of exotic, classic and luxury vehicles lift off to their happy homes.  

Through its Automotive Galleries and Lairs team, Aston Martin works with top architects to create everything from small, one-car galleries to collectors’ museums, with Bond-like elements. (Courtesy Aston Martin)

Not to be outdone, Aston Martin has thrown its tweed cap into the real estate ring with its 66-story Residences on Biscayne Boulevard in the heart of Miami. The building, designed by Revuelta Architecture and Bodas-Miani-Anger (BMA), will be completed in late 2022 and includes seven penthouses and a three-story superpenthouse. While it doesn’t come equipped with automobile elevators, there are plenty of thoughtful touches throughout like door handles featuring the same hand-stitched leather used in Aston Martins and furniture and accents made from the signature carbon fiber and aniline leather in its top-of-the-line 820bhp Vulcan racer. Speaking of which, the lucky owner of the 20,000-square-foot, $50 million penthouse will be given one of the $2.3 million,800-horsepower supercars—one of only 24 in existence—as a housewarming gift. Signature condos come with a choice of a DB11 sports car or the DBX, Aston Martin’s new SUV.

Spiraling staircases, water features and futuristic glass displays are just some of the elements the Aston Martin Automotive Galleries and Lairs team can incorporate into its designs. (Courtesy Aston Martin)

All residents enjoy access to a standard 10-story garage, but for those looking to up their parking game, Aston Martin offers the option of engaging their Automotive Galleries and Lairs team to design a one-of-a-kind showroom built around their fleet of cars. The space also includes an adjacent marina for superyachts that measure more than 300 feet long, which begs the question: How long will it be before we have to provide additional parking in our living rooms for the ultimate boating machines?