History and evolution of Carports

History and evolution of Carports

A carport is basically a garage like structure made for the purpose of providing proper shed for cars and other vehicles. The major difference between a garage and a carport is that while the former is a room like establishment with four walls and minimal room for a ventilation provision, the latter allows automobiles to breathe since it does not confine it within an enclosed space. A carport traditionally supports a roof on top of four or more pillars and is meant to protect vehicles from natural elements such as rain, hailstorm, snow, and direct sunrays.

How the idea came into being

“Carport” is a term that originated from the French word “porte cochere” which means a covering or a shed. The concept of including a carport-like structure with a personal living space was a popular concept back in 1909. Walter Burley Griffith, the architect who designed the Prairie School, became the first to incorporate a carport when he was hired to design the famous W. B. Sloan house located at Illinois. More and more Prairie school designers were taking up the idea of including carports which was attached to residential complexes. Around then, a carport was known as an “auto-space”, which was just as so, since it was used as an allocated space for automobiles.

Frank Lloyd Wright was the one who came up with the term “carport” for these auto-spaces when he was planning his initial designs for the unique “Usonian” homes. Wright’s explanation for building a carport-like structure instead of a garage for automobiles is the fact that cars have become a lot more resistant in their model and built and hence do not need to be protected by full-fledged rooms like barns for horses. Since cars built before the 1930s were made of inferior materials and were not water-resistant, they did need to be protected by more solid concrete confinements. But with the gradual evolution of automobiles, the concept of carports instead of auto-spaces or garages came into being. Also, since one did not need to invest huge amounts of money to build a carport, even people in possession of a cheap second-hand car can afford a 24/7 shelter for his car.

Modern usage

The use of carports only increased with time as people recognized it as the more economic and environmental way to protect their automobiles. Metals such as aluminum, steel or tin serve as the primary building ingredients for carports in the present times. While carport structures in the United States of America are mostly built with slanting and modular roof, a more flattened roof is preferred for carports in the other parts of the globe. From the environmental point of view and the rising consciousness about the environment hazard risks ran by confined structures such as a garage, people feel more safer by opting for a more open structure like a carport with ample air circulation and absolutely zero possibility of car engines getting heated over boiling points. Carports are also great for parking heavy vehicles such as vans, trucks or RVs because the height of the roof is often higher than that of conventional garages.

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