Bicycle parking Mahlerplein, Amsterdam

The Zuidas in development

The expansion and renovation of Station Zuid is giving a great boost to the Zuidas as a new city district. The open, multi-level park landscape in which travellers find their way to a bus, tram, train, taxi or their bicycle enables one of the largest railway stations in the Netherlands to merge with the urban environment in a natural way. Essential to raising the quality of this public space is an inviting and suitable solution to the problem of bicycle parking.

The Dutch cyclist is used to cycling right up to the front door of where they are going and then locking the bicycle in the wink of an eye and leaving it there, in a rack, attached to a road sign, or just leaning against the wall. But dedicated cycle sheds or underground bicycle garages are far better, both for public space and for safety and supervision.

A large bicycle garage

An underground bicycle parking facility was planned for the Mahlerplein, with a capacity of 3,000 bicycles. The challenge was to design it so that it would be accessible and attractive enough for cyclists to be eager to park their bicycles in it. The design for the Mahlerplein bicycle garage by architectural studio ZJA, which was not built, was developed with Ballast Nedam as the contractor. It is based on the idea that this is a form of high-quality service, in keeping with the carefully tended urban environment and the ambitious architecture all around.

On the square is a covered main entrance, consisting of an entirely transparent glass pavilion, a minimal and neutral presence in the green, parklike part of the square. With the daylight that penetrates deep into the garage, the cyclist descends on a conveyor belt and uses the broad paths to find a parking spot. On the long side a glass wall makes for continual contact with the world above, and in recessed niches artworks, film announcements, exhibitions and theatrical performances are on view.

Parking with panache

The broad paths and the dark-blue supporting colour are not alone in giving structure and atmosphere to the underground space. Bands of light and a clever system indicating where empty parking places are available make it easier to comprehend the environment, find your way, park your bicycle and quickly locate it again. As you come in from the square, from the greenery of the middle section, the parking of your bicycle must give you the feeling you are in an environment with a high-grade architectonic character. That feeling is generated by the spaciousness, the colours, the lighting and the glass wall with niches. As a result, parking a bicycle is not a boring chore in grey industrial surroundings but a comfortable activity by means of which you do a favour to your bicycle, the city and yourself.

Architect: ZJA
Contractor: Ballast Nedam
Year: Design from 2014, not implemented

Project: #769




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