Holland is a country that is home to more bicycles than people. This explains, for example, why city train stations have more than half a million bicycle parking spaces, including the largest single garage in the world. It is located in Utrecht.
Yet even so cyclists often struggle to find a place to park. For this the country has decided to create space for another 100.000 bicycles before 2025. A huge new garage, which will be built in Amsterdam, will not simply be a space to safely store your bicycle. It will be underwater, freeing up public space on the surface, and will have features that support aquatic and plant life in the area below.
Nice and good, and opens very soon
The bicycle garage will be part of a semi-floating structure built behind Amsterdam Central Station. The original purpose of the structure was to protect the quay (where the station is located along the water's edge) from potential accidents such as boat collisions. "The protection put in place left unused space between itself and the quay", explains the main architect of the project, Danny Esselman. His studio, Venhoeven CS, has already wowed blog readers. The latest realization is a bridge that offers a safe passage for pollinators.
The garage, which is expected to open in 2022, is designed to be a calm and elegant refuge for cyclists who have to juggle the chaotic hustle and bustle of the city "above".
Good design goes a long way, encourages cyclists to use the parking lot. This means good accessibility, limited elevation gain, efficient traffic flows, a safe and light environment and the use of aesthetically beautiful materials.Danny Esselman
A garage that's good for the environment?
The facility will not only add the much-needed bicycle garage, but was born with aquatic life in mind, with features that will help support the river's ecosystem. For example, his porous concrete will allow plants and mussels to cling to the walls, while the coconut mats they will provide space for vegetation to grow while helping to purify the water. The team also included mesh baskets called "biohuts", designed to protect young fish, which will trap plastic waste and prevent them from ending up in the river.
Esselman stresses the importance of "taking steps to build a better habitat for aquatic life than there was before," because the garage structure will steal part of their home from these creatures. I agree with him: the goal of design will have to go far beyond the simple reduction of the environmental impact.