As the children in this Sydney family neared driving age, there was no additional space on site for a larger garage. Their solution was simple: build the garage below ground.
Instead of designing a traditional brutalist underground carpark with little regard for internal aesthetics, architect Angela Kent from Kenström Design instead strove for elegance and softness. The result was something between a luxury showroom and where Bruce Wayne keeps his beloved 'Batmobile'.
Kent jokes that the term “bat cave” was bandied about together with a Pinterest image of a car showroom with an illuminated ceiling’. She then seriously succeeded in drawing from both sources in the design of this legendary carpark.
She strove for a warm and calm atmosphere that would transition well to the rich traditional detailing inside the house. Though softening the harsh looks of dark walls with wooden battens like those seen on the walls is a relatively routine procedure for Kent, she worried about using organic materials underground for fear of mould in a space deprived of natural light.
A solution was found in some Japanese made aluminium battens with a photorealistic timber finish, providing the effect of timber without the potential issues of using natural wood.
A true Portland cement-based concrete terrazzo overlay replaces traditional floor tiles, enabling the builders to achieve a virtually join-free surface. This calculated concrete floor combined with the beautiful aluminium battens creates an elegant appeal that doesn't compromise practicality. Essentially, it's low maintenance and stunning, the way a luxury garage should be.
Kent ditches the reflective, glossy surfaces of traditional showrooms and opts for LED strip lights fitted behind the wall battens at the skirting to provide a soft glow throughout the entire space. The lighting design highlights the curvature of the walls and lines of the battens, creating a calming rather than industrial atmosphere. Exposed concrete ceilings provide a natural, reflective surface to further the bright yet soft feel.
With immense consideration given to every aspect, this garage is the beautiful intersection of contemplated simplicity and great materials. The unfortunate part: this architectural masterpiece is hidden underground away from the public's view. See more images in the gallery below, courtesy of The Local Project.