Innovation That Matters

The bike hotel is designed to blend into the landscape and offer much-needed residential bike parking. | Photo source Don Lawrence Architects

A bike hotel that blends in to the landscape

Architecture & Design

The city of Oslo has built an environmentally-friendly and aesthetically harmonious bike parking garage


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Spotted: Oslo, like many other cities around the world, is working hard to reduce carbon emissions and make the city carbon neutral. One key element of this is to encourage people to use alternative forms of transportation, such as cycling. As part of this, Oslo’s Akersbakken Housing Association has recently installed a bicycle parking ‘garage’ that is not only very attractive but also environmentally friendly. 

The Association brought in Don Lawrence Architects to design the Akersbakken Bicycle Hotel, an inviting, safe and accessible space to park bicycles. Uniquely, the hotel is built into a hillside, to lend an unobtrusive visual footprint and reduce the use of materials by using the hillside to form one of the walls. 

The structure is held up by twenty timber beams, arranged to let in natural light while at the same time limiting ambient light escaping from the structure at night, to reduce light pollution in the neighbourhood. From the outside, the hotel looks like an extension of the surrounding hillside, with grasses, wildflowers and small plants growing on the sloped roof. The Hotel can hold between 50 and 70 bikes and is easily accessible from different directions. 

The architects describe how the Akersbakken Housing Association asked them, “to create a bicycle hotel that is unobtrusive in the landscape, and accessible so as to inspire increased use of bicycles among the residents.” They added that “To approach this, we had to think beyond a conventional free-standing building … Enclosed by two concrete walls, the project is designed to give the impression of a continuous free-flowing extension of the existing hill … changing its appearance with every season.” 

Encouraging bicycle use is one way that many cities are encouraging people to spend less time in cars. And it has the added advantage of improving health. The popularity of cycling means we are seeing an increasing number of innovations designed to make it even easier. Recent developments have included a customisable e-cargo bike and a solar-powered, covered bike path

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Mobility and Transport | Sustainability



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