Dutch design studio Silo has completed one of the world’s largest parking garages for bicycles, with nearly 8,000 underground parking spots next to a busy railway station.
Silo worked in collaboration with Studio Marsman to create the public garage in front of The Hague Central Station in the Netherlands.
“What if a functional underground space, rather than being a place you want to avoid, becomes an attraction not to be missed?” Silo’s creative director Rene Toneman told Dezeen.
“We wanted to enhance the comfort and safety for the thousands of daily users, bringing the experience of cycling through the city into the interior.”
Recognising that cycling has taken on new importance in recent years, due to growing climate concerns and the coronavirus pandemic, Silo hopes that the garage provides cyclists with a “comfortable and safe” parking environment.
Cyclists enter the garage through a main entrance, which is designed to mirror the facade of a building above ground.
While still riding, they can travel through the garage along an interior bike lane that runs along the length of the space. Spots to park bikes are positioned in rows in the middle of the garage.
The single-storey parking facility is designed to look and feel like a museum, with bright lighting and spatial cues to match.
“Low ceilings, a lack of daylight, repetitive layout and no views of the surroundings make underground parking usually very unpleasant,” explained Toneman.
“The parking garage in The Hague has been designed to completely transform this essential service by creating an unexpected and exceptional spatial experience.”
The space also features a long graphic mural featuring geometric shapes and patterns in a grey hue.
According to the designers, this illustration reflects the bright lights in the garage, making the room feel bigger.
“The integrated application of light and experiential graphic design make the facility appear more spacious,” Toneman said.
“The angle of light in the illustration matches the actual light behind it, dramatically enhancing the appearance of depth.”
The bicycle parking garage is shortlisted in the civic and cultural interior category and the graphic design category of Dezeen Awards 2021.
Other shortlisted projects in this category include Kengo Kuma Associates’ mesh curtain for Casa Batlló and a wide-beam barge designed to look like a floating church.