Carports are covered structures that are used to offer limited protection to vehicles from the elements. This structure can be free standing or attached by one side to a wall. Unlike garage buildings, carports do not have four walls. Usually they have only one or two. Compared to garages, carports offer less protection, but allow more ventilation since they are open. Steel carports are resistant to termites, fire, earthquakes, and other natural causes of damage. The term “carport” actually comes from the French word “porte-cochère” which means a covered portal. Beginning in 1909, carports were actually first used by Prairie School architects.