Berkeley’s Normandy Village was constructed as a sort of “Disneyland version” of a French village, but being constructed in the early twentieth century, it included covered car parking spaces. The challenge, of course, is that the size of the average automobile has grown substantially in the past 100 years. “Compact” and “mid-size” cars barely fit; only the Mazda Miata at the left size of the image looks properly at home in its bay.
Down the tiny alleys, side streets, and driveways of Berkeley are all kinds of odd old garages. My favorite details of these structures usually come down to scale; the driveway tracks and garage measurements were clearly built to be just large enough for the cars of the period. As American vehicles have grown larger, they now appear comically mismatched with anything but a vintage car in the scene.
Nearly every surface in this image is brick. From the alleyway to the retaining walls to the towers: brick, brick, brick (or pavers). I understand sheathing a structural steel building in glass or densglass or (heaven forbid) “exterior insulation finishing system,” a.k.a. Dryvit, but the kind of person-hours necessary to assemble all of that orderly brick is mind-boggling.
Fall in the North Country makes dramatic skies and shadows. What I’ll call “drivewayhenge” aligned the sun precisely with this driveway, allowing for much of the scene to be in shadow while the garage at the end is a glowing beacon. In typical North Country fashion, that garage is a Millenium Falcon of useful modifications.
The early-Saturday-morning light stabs down, under the metal bridge, to the precast concrete façade of the new and the ornate brick façade of the old. Overlooked in this corner of Seattle is a small metal door to an underground garage. I’m sure it’s perfectly mundane, but my imagination can’t cease telling me that some caped crusader’s high-tech ride is waiting on the other side. This is definitely where I’d hide my batmobile.