Dominick Tringali Architects
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Q. How can I achieve a neotraditional look without utilizing alleys?
A: We see more and more builders and developers who want to keep a neotraditional look--narrow streets, classic designs with hints from the past, varying setbacks--but for whatever reason can't incorporate alleys into their plans. We deal with that by exploring different ways to place the garage. If it must go in front, and in some communities that's the only option, then we make sure to set it way back from the front facade and balance it with a highly detailed porch. Often, a better option is to move the garage all the way to the rear of the property, which, if done sensitively, can still leave backyard access from the main part of the house. The resulting, rather long driveway can be detailed so that it adds, rather than detracts, from the overall design of the house.
Trade-offs: Putting the garage out back makes for a long driveway and less play space, but it allows for a lively streetscape out front.
Focal point: If the garage must go in front, a dressed-up porch with lots of detail helps make the body of the house a focal point. Architectural details can also help make the garage doors look less prominent.