Ector Hoogstad Architecten has constructed the world's biggest bicycle garage that accommodates a staggering 12,500 bikes beneath Utrecht’s central railway station in the Netherlands.
Promoting the already established culture of cycling amongst the Dutch people, the project has been envisioned to provide a unique experience to cyclists while improving the city’s infrastructure.
The project by Ector Hoogstad focuses on three main design aspects of convenience, speed and safety. With this in mind, the plan is separated into units for parking and paths, marked in red, which safely navigate users around the garage without bumping into each other. Covering three levels, the cycle lanes incorporate slow ramps, allowing cyclists to pedal from their parking slot at the bottom all the way to the ground level square.
The interior of the garage is characterised by the use of exposed concrete and steel, which evoke a raw, industrial aesthetic. To provide a feeling of warmth and to create a more inviting space, chemically treated timber is also used in addition to elements of glazing from the public square above, which bring natural daylight into the parking via the stairwells and tunnels.
The three-storey cycle parking facility has been constructed with the notion of promoting Utrecht as a sustainable city, as well as part of a wider redevelopment of the central station area. Above ground, a huge canopy has been added to the square, announcing it as a new vibrant gathering space for local residents and visitors. The structure of the giant canopy can even be seen within the bicycle garage underground, as trumpet-shaped columns extend below, providing a structural and visual connection between the levels.
Ector Hoogstad Architecten first won the competition to design the central station’s cycle parking in collaboration with Sant&Co and Royal Haskoning DHV back in 2011. After six years, the first phase of the project opened in early August 2017. Now, in 2019, the development is completed, providing a world record capacity for bike storage and creating a new dynamic hub for Utrecht.
Via designboom | All images © Petra Appelhof