The Underground Bicycleparking in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, a design of ZJA in collaboration with Hans van Houwelingen, has been awarded the 2021 Architecture MasterPrize, an American architecture award, as ‘Best of best’ in the category 'Infrastructure’. This year, the organization received their highest number of entries, with thousands of exceptional projects from around the globe.

Underground Bicycleparking

Under the Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen, one of the busiest squares in Amsterdam right next to the Leidseplein, the underground bicycle parking Leidseplein was designed by the architectural studio ZJA in a special collaboration with artist Hans van Houwelingen. The forty lizards of Blaauw Jan, a work of art by Van Houwelingen, have returned to the park and watch over the bicycles in the parking. On one hand the lizards of the work of art are integrated in the design of the bicycle parking. And on the other, the bridge over the Lijnbaansgracht in the characteristic style of the Amsterdam School, is also a leading visual element in the design of the bicycle parking and its entrance.

Renewed Public Space

ZJA, together with Ballast Nedam, was awarded the contract by the municipality of Amsterdam for the construction and design of the bicycle parking Leidseplein under the Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen. By bringing all bicycles underground, a spatial, green square has been created above ground. This has been designed by landscape architect Ruwan Aluvihare of the municipality of Amsterdam, and provides space for visitors to the Leidseplein. Thus a renewed meeting place for the city has been created.

Connecting underground and the world above

The bicycle parking has two entrances; one for pedestrians and one for cyclists. The characteristic Amsterdam School style of the bridge over the Lijnbaansgracht has been continued by Hans van Houwelingen in the wall of the entrance to the bicycle parking. This masonry wall in warm red brick continues underground in a straight line to the entrance at the Leidseplein. The wall thus not only connects both entrances, but also connects the underground with the world above.

Light and spacious bicycle parking

In the new bicycle parking, 2000 bicycles can be stored in a safe and dry manner. In the design, ZJA has given extra attention to the entry of daylight into the bicycle parking and lighting above the footpaths. What is remarkable is the wider paths and greater height (3.20 m) of the bicycle parking. This creates a light and spacious space with a transparent and pleasant atmosphere, which contributes to social safety.

Architect: ZJA; Visual artist: Hans van Houwelingen; Principal: The municipality of Amsterdam; Client ZJA: Ballast Nedam; Contractor: Ballast Nedam; Landscape Design: Gemeente Amsterdam / afdeling Ruimte en Duurzaamheid (Ruwan Aluvihare); Year: 2017 - 2021