May 28, 2006 4:21 PM   Subscribe

"CarLoft works like this: you drive the car into a modified industrial elevator, the CarLift. (Nearly all German luxury vehicles fit; only the massive Mercedes Maybach, priced at half a million euros, is too much car to lift.) A computer-controlled transponder recognizes the car and knows to which floor it should be delivered automatically." -- Metropolis Magazine has more. I don't drive but if I did and I lived in an apartment, I'd want a CarLoft -- being able to drive you car to your front door, five stories up. That's classy.
posted by feelinglistless (29 comments total)
I wish this was a joke.
posted by wilful at 4:25 PM on May 28, 2006

So space that could be used as a deck is instead filled with exhaust and oil stains?

Anyways, if they can't fit my Maybach, which I drive up from Stuttgart every weekend, whats the point?
posted by vacapinta at 4:36 PM on May 28, 2006

Sounds great for unloading groceries.
posted by wendell at 4:36 PM on May 28, 2006

It's weird - I don't get vertigo at all, really, but something about seeing that car next to the balcony really triggers the fear-of-heights part of my brain. Some part of me is screaming 'No! It's got wheels! What's it doing up there? Is the handbrake on? Are you sure? Are you really sure?'

Apart from that, the CarLoft's certainly a neat, expensive toy to show your astronomically rich friends, but the tiny amount of convenience it gains you over a secure underground car-park like the one car owners use in the building where I live now - particularly when the thing inevitably breaks and your car's stuck on the fifth floor until the one CarLoft mechanic in Germany has time to get to you - means I doubt we'll see many of them clanking and straining away. At least when a people-lift breaks down you can take the stairs.
posted by terpsichoria at 4:49 PM on May 28, 2006

In Japan these parking "buildings" are common. Just without the apartment part.
posted by zardoz at 4:53 PM on May 28, 2006

There used to be a parking garage down by the WTC that had a lift thingie like this. It stacked the cars like shipping containers. I thought that was a bit weird, but practical given the cost of real estate. This is just absurd: prime living space given over to a -car-?
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:21 PM on May 28, 2006

the best thing about this is, if you become despondent and disgusted with your affluent life, you can make one hell of a dramatic exit

jumping off buildings is so old school ...
posted by pyramid termite at 5:29 PM on May 28, 2006

Looks like it would be great for people with limited mobility. And tons of money; I'm guessing even a regular old 2,500-square foot apartment in Berlin would be quite pricey.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:29 PM on May 28, 2006

There are, in fact, tons of car elevators in NYC for parking, but they don't let you drive off into apartments. A picture.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:32 PM on May 28, 2006

So space that could be used as a deck is instead filled with exhaust and oil stains?

Maybe think of it this way: When you live all that distance above the street, you need that deck because going out and doing something is a pain in the ass. You've got to go down to the basement with all your stuff. load it into the car and drive out. Coming back is even worse. You have to unload the car and carry it upstairs back to your apartment.

So instead of going out to a park or something, you sit out on the deck or balcony. It's less trouble. It's right there.

With this thing, the threshold for going out is much lower. The car is right outside your apartment. You're more inclined to get out of the apartment and do whatever. You have no deck, sure, but you don't need one - there's oodles of public space you can take advantage of.
posted by Ritchie at 5:33 PM on May 28, 2006

The article mentions that the proximity to the river makes underground parking impractical. Since the only other alternative is to have a separate parking area/building, this is actually a space saving measure.
posted by spazzm at 6:44 PM on May 28, 2006

This is sick.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:47 PM on May 28, 2006

Sure beats driving around in circles for a half hour to try and find a parking place that's reasonably close to your building.

And I would imagine that the CarLoft setup cuts WAY down on auto theft, vandalism, breakins, etc. No worrying about some drunk smashing into your car while it's parked out on the street.

Sounds like the only folks that would snark about an idea like this would be the militant bike riding car haters. :)

And yeah, these kinds of things are quite common in Japan. Even when I was there 12 years ago, I saw car lifts all over the place. Saved a lot of space!
posted by drstein at 7:00 PM on May 28, 2006

If The Incredibles lived in an apartment instead of a house, this is where they'd live.

Very cool.
posted by BoringPostcards at 7:07 PM on May 28, 2006

I was interested that there's a brief mention of 'automatic billing' somewhere on the page. Apparently using the elevator to to your house is going to cost extra, which seems kind of odd. On the other hand, it might actually encourage people to not take their car out for short trips.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:55 PM on May 28, 2006

See also: the 1924 Jewelers Building at 35 E Wacker in Chicago. To provide greater security for its jewel merchant tenants, the building had an auto elevator to take the merchant directly to the floor where his office was.
posted by dhartung at 8:42 PM on May 28, 2006

Moving furniture would be fantastically easy. Security would be improved--my car has been broken into twice in my locked parking garage. Very cool.
posted by vaportrail at 11:10 PM on May 28, 2006

I was interested that there's a brief mention of 'automatic billing' somewhere on the page.

In context, I think "billing" referred to order on a bill of lading, so to speak, that sets when each tenant will automagically find that the lift is right outside of their carloggia (is this German for carport?) so that they can be sure that they can leave right on time for their commute, etc. It wasn't a particularly appropriate English translation, but then English-only speakers aren't high on the list, I'd imagine, of people buying a CarLoft in the heart of Berlin starting at €450,000.

I understand the perspective that this is about showing off cars, but since you can use wood louvers or doors to shut the carloggia off from the view of your living space (and apparently you can have the space double as a utility room with your laundry area?) I think it's definitely a nod to the abilities of technology to provide comfort and security in new ways for a population that wants both while still enjoying all of the benefits that come with urban living. I can imagine something like this becoming a serious trend for new up-market development just about anywhere in the U.S. except NYC. It would speak to what a lot of people are wanting; plus it would be a subtle encouragement for a return to the idea of one car per household, which couldn't hurt anyone.
posted by Dreama at 11:24 PM on May 28, 2006


Maybe there's a reason I moved out into the burbs and got a rather large house with a three-car attached garage.
posted by skeeter1 at 11:42 PM on May 28, 2006

carloggia (is this German for carport?)

No, that's Einstellplatz. "Carloggia" is marketing Denglish, literally "car balcony."

Anyway, a minimum of half a million Euro so that you don't have to carry your groceries and don't get your car stolen or keyed? Seems a bit much. Hell, you could pay a watchman / porter 25k a year for 20 years for that. Guess that would cut down on your resale value, though.
posted by moonbiter at 11:57 PM on May 28, 2006

related, and a beautiful use of space detailed at autostadt
posted by quaeler at 12:28 AM on May 29, 2006

What if while you're out someone steals your wallet and your car? Now they know where you live and using the automatic transponder, can drive right into your home.


Or whatever.
posted by papakwanz at 12:43 AM on May 29, 2006

TheOnlyCoolTim: Thanks for that picture of the stacking parking lot in New York. The title is completely correct ... 'Hoping no one's in a rush' -- how long does it take to fetch your car?
posted by feelinglistless at 1:38 AM on May 29, 2006

how long does it take to fetch your car?

From what I've seen, it would take at minimum of ten minutes to get a car from the top level if there were two cars beneath which needed to be moved first. It's a bit faster if there are more people who can help. Those kinds of lots undoubtedly use a time ranking system, the people who will be returning the last have their cars put on the highest levels.
posted by Dreama at 5:53 AM on May 29, 2006

Hrmm, that makes a lot more sense, Dreama.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:50 AM on May 29, 2006

I'd be over this like ugly on a bear if I could afford it. I've always wanted a loft place you could drive right into.

Besides being able to bring up your car think of how easy this would make setting up and using say a wood shop. Sheet goods could come in and furniture could go out all with a minimum of fuss.
posted by Mitheral at 6:56 AM on May 29, 2006

The Starret-Lehigh building in NYC has elevators that can take trucks up to the individual floors where they can be driven off for unloading.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:17 AM on May 29, 2006

For some reason I was reminded of this.
posted by Penks at 10:25 AM on May 30, 2006

This is not quite as cool as riding an old shovelhead from next to your bed into the kitchen to pick up some pop-tarts and then ride back to bed to eat them. That's my plan. That and unicycle basketball.
posted by longbaugh at 10:33 AM on May 30, 2006

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