If you’ve ever been to the Netherlands, you’ll know you can get pretty much anywhere you like on two wheels. The whole country is criss-crossed with world-class cycle lanes, much of its terrain is very flat, and accordingly, in a country of just 17 million people, there are some 23 million bikes to go around.
So it’s no surprise that as the country looks to the future of its ultra-urban landscape, cities are being redesigned with cyclists in mind. To take just one example, one of the largest bicycle parking garages in the world – with room for 8,000 bikes – has just opened in the coastal city of The Hague. And as bicycle parking garages go, boy is this monster stylish.
Built beneath a square in front of the city’s central station, the spacious and light-filled garage is designed to allow locals easier access to other parts of the country via train. It’ll prove a boon for the city’s many residents who commute to other cities like Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Photograph: Mike Bink
Inside, electronic signs show visitors the number of vacant spaces in each aisle as they cycle through, while back-lit glass walls give the space the atmosphere of an ultra-modern airport or art gallery. The city is mid-way redeveloping the above-ground plaza, where commercial and residential buildings will have direct access to the garage.
A spokesperson for creative agency SILO, which was involved in the project, told Lonely Planet the structure was inspired by M.C. Escher, one of the country’s most famous graphic artists.
‘By subtly weaving together façade elements of iconic buildings of The Hague, we have created a luminous cityscape akin to [his works]’, René Toneman said. ‘We took inspiration from the impression one gets from cycling through a city at high speed.’
Fingers crossed this mammoth structure will be easier to get out of than one of Escher’s notoriously labyrinthine creations, eh?
Photograph: Mike Bink
More brilliant plans:
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Prague has turned old ice vaults into spaces for bars and restaurants