Many older cities have infrastructures with back lanes, relics of an era when streets were for people, and you kept the horses and the cars in the rear. It worked well; you could put the houses on narrower lots, and the garages were useful for a lot more than just vehicles. It also provides a great opportunity for urban intensification, although it is really tough to get approved and defines the term NIMBY. But who could say no to something as elegant as this studio in Boulder proposed by Rob Pyatt?
We live in an era where we should be promoting things like this, which let people comfortably work from home and still provides for parking. The design minimizes the footprint (an elegant truss expressed on the facade lets it cantilever over the outside parking space).
For example, in Toronto they have been talking about legalizing back lane developments for years. Yet every time it comes up for discussion, the NIMBY crowds flip out, even though most back lanes are grossly underutilized, have sewers and services, and could support many small apartments and offices above the parking. They say that the small apartments will attract the wrong kind of people or the offices will attract more cars.
But cities need a range of accommodation; homeowners might need the extra income if they are going to keep their homes; many of us have aging parents and could use a granny flat. Rob Pyatt demonstrates that these additions to the urban fabric can tread lightly, maintain the parking and look spectacular. More at Pyatt Studios
More Laneway Houses in TreeHugger
Laneway House by Kohn Shnier Architects