How to build a bike-friendly office: give cyclists a giant yellow ramp
More and more people are cycling to work, and some real estate developers are beginning to notice that taking care of them is good marketing. It's a real change in a short time; When visiting TreeHugger's previous owners' offices in New York, the landlord would not even allow founder Graham Hill and I to carry our Strida folding bikes in the elevator. Now in London, architects Studio RHE have renovated an historic building, repurposing it into high-tech offices, and it is perhaps the most bike-friendly office ever built.
© Studio RHE
A lot of buildings now have lockers, secure bike storage and showers, but the AlphaBeta building has a giant yellow ramp that takes you from the street right down to its elaborate bicycleplex.
© Studio RHE
Dickson Hayward of Studio RHE tells Adele Peters of Fast Company:
As cyclists around the city, we get tired of having to get off our bikes and carry them up steps and stairways. We wanted to create a sort of seamless transition to make it as enjoyable as possible to get into the building. ...We made it a key architectural feature of the building, because it embodies values that we think are important—new ways of thinking about transport in the city. Our client shared that view. We wanted to make a theater about it, and make it central to the design.
Watching the BBC video, I can't help thinking that the turn is a bit tight. Perhaps they should add a net; someday someone is going to go over that low guardrail:
The bike ramp is getting all the attention, but the whole project looks pretty interesting with its giant atrium...
© Studio RHE/ Alphabeta lobby
...and it's gorgeous rooftop patio.
© Alphabeta Studio via Dezeen
This is one project to watch; an amazing rehab and repurposing job that gives new meaning to Jane Jacobs' dictum: "Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings."