50 percent of trips on bicycles by 2030. That is the goal of BYCS, the organization behind the Bicycle Architecture Biennale (BAB). This year’s event, the second BAB has held, highlights fifteen projects from around the globe that feature bicycle paths, parking, and crossings. NEXT Architects served as the jury, selecting 11 built projects and 4 in the conceptual or planning phase.
Each project offers innovative ways of weaving bicycles into the city through three approaches: routes, connections, and destinations. BYCS says these themes “reveal the variety of ways cycling transforms people and places and try to convey the balance between moving and staying that bicycle architecture employs to create thriving, livable places.”
The exhibition opened in Amsterdam, as part of the WeMakeThe.City, the biggest city-making festival in Europe. The exhibition will travel to Rome, Oslo, and Geneva, over the next two years.
A few standout projects include:
Xiamen Bicycle Skyway: The Xiamen Bicycle Skyway in Xiamen, China, designed by Dissing and Weitling Architecture, is an 8 kilometer (5 mile) elevated bike path that runs under and around the Xiamen bus rapid transit (BRT) system. The path, painted green, hovers nearly 5 meters (17 feet) above traffic, accommodating 2,000 bicyclists at one time without impediment from motor vehicle traffic.
The skyway has 11 entry points throughout, connecting it to 11 bus stops and 2 metro stops, further integrating bikes into the transportation system of the city. In several locations, the skyway diverges from the BRT in order to maintain comfortable grade changes or to navigate existing infrastructure.
Cycling through the trees: Biking 10 meters (32 feet) in the forest canopy is now a reality outside the town of Hechtel-Eksel in Belgium, where a 700 meter (2,300 foot) circular path ramps up and then back down through the forest. The length of the circular path ensures the grade stays below 4 percent, keeping the path comfortable for bikers and pedestrians alike. The large ring, designed by BuroLandschap, is an offshoot of an existing cycling network, ensuring cyclists will ride through this unique experience.
Limburg, the province Hechtel-Eskel is in, bills itself as a “cycling haven.” Cycling through the trees is the latest project to help build that reputation. In 2016, an award winning project, Cycling through water, was implemented along the same bike network.
Nelson St Cycleway: When a highway off-ramp was closed in Auckland, New Zealand, the city saw an opportunity to convert existing, unused space along an urban highway into a cycleway, extending existing bike trails into the downtown area. The conversion into the Nelson St. Cycleway, designed by Monk Mackenzie and LandLAB, creates a 600 meter (2,000 foot)-long hot pink strip next to the highway.
The surface of the off-ramp was painted hot pink, and slender rectangular lights were incorporated into the fencing. The color of the lights gradually change along the ramp, creating a rhythmic glow that heightens the brilliance of the pink ground. The vibrant colors transform transportation infrastructure into a playful space for people.
Utrecht Centraal Station Bicycle Parking: To create deeper connections between public transit and bicycle infrastructure, cities need to create more bicycle parking. Utrecht Centraal Station, the city’s largest rail station, has parking spaces for 12,500 bikes. The removal of a structure connecting the train station and a nearby shopping mall opened up space for Ector Hoogstad Architecten to design a new public square and bicycle storage facility.
The parking facility has a cycling path that branches off to available parking stalls, which are indicated by an electronic system. Visitors can ride through the building directly to their parking stall, making the connection between parking and the public spaces and transit easy.