Innovation That Matters

From the entrance, cyclists are guided downwards in a flowing movement that encourages calmness and relaxation. | Photo source VenhoevenCS

Underwater parking garage for bicycles helps wildlife and pedestrians

Architecture & Design

A new bicycle parking garage is designed to provide a relaxing environment for both people and aquatic life

Spotted: Cycling is extremely popular in the Netherlands where there are more bikes than people. This is one reason why bicycle parking is at a premium and the country is in the process of building additional parking garages for bikes. One of the newest, in Amsterdam, will be located underwater, providing a haven for aquatic life and cyclists. 

Designed by architecture firm VenhoevenCS architecture+urbanism, the parking garage will be part of a semi-floating structure that was designed to protect the quay behind Amsterdam Central Station. From the entrance, cyclists are guided downwards in a flowing movement that encourages calmness and relaxation. Spacious stairwells with large glass surfaces provide a view of the parking facility from the street. 

The parking garage benefits the aquatic life of the area with porous concrete that helps plants and mussels stick to the walls, while coconut mats help purify the water and mesh baskets shelter the fish. The space has also been designed to keep energy consumption low while generous daylight, good visibility and a central operator provide a feeling of security.  

VenhoevenCS describes the thinking behind the structure as making a connection between the design language and the existing environment, such as the round facades of the station and the bus platform cockpits. “The parking looks and feels robust, sparkling and modern, but is also sustainable, future-proof and easy to maintain. So that the parking facility will not only be attractive, but will also remain attractive.” 

Architecture is increasingly focused on creating sustainability by working to enhance the existing environment, rather than bulldoze over it. We have seen this recently in projects such as a school made of bamboo that sustains the natural environment and an off-grid research centre designed to have minimal environmental impact. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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