Backyard Atelier: Smooth Garage-to-Studio Transformation

Those of us lucky enough to have garages know that they are useful for all kinds of things aside from storing vehicles. They act as impromptu practice spaces, workshops, winter-time beverage coolers, and the sites of much male bonding. The owner of this particular garage wanted to use his space as an office, but did not want to feel like he was spending his days in a garage. Dutch firm Architecten|en|en went to work creating a cozy but professional home office.

The studio is an extension and overhaul of the existing attached garage space. The client, designer Hugo de Ruiter, needed a place to not only conduct daily business but to meet with clients as well. For obvious reasons, calling meetings in the garage of one’s home is not ideal – so the addition takes on a life of its own, looking as different to the existing structure as possible.

The addition extends the garage both outward and upward, adding depth and height to the space. The exterior is clad in perforated corrugated aluminum skin that sets the office apart from the structure to which it is attached. Large folding aluminum doors protect the all-glass front and offer a bit of privacy and shade when needed.

Texturally, the aluminum plates seem to be a visual continuation of the home’s existing roof tiles. Thus, the add-on space appears to belong there but definitely has an identity all its own. Where the old and new structures meet, a thin strip of glass provides an unexpected additional burst of sunlight inside while further reinforcing the “new” and “existing” dichotomy.

According to Hugo de Ruiter, the space is the perfect size for an office. It is small enough that he does not feel out of place working in it alone, yet large enough that holding a meeting with several clients at once is not cramped or uncomfortable. As home offices go, this one looks amazingly sophisticated and not at all like it exists in a place once reserved for vehicles.

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