It's not an apartment building, it's a bicycle house

under construction photo cykelhuset
© Cykelhuset Oboy!

Apartment buildings without any car parking areas becoming more common, particularly in dense cities. Apartment buildings with bike storage are also becoming more common. But the Cykelehuset Ohboy! in Malmö, Sweden is a whole new type: it is an apartment building designed around the needs of people with bikes and cargo bikes.

exterior rendering© Cykelhuset Oboy!

It is in fact Sweden’s first apartment building with no parking. Instead it has a bicycle garage, outside parking and of course, you can take your bike right up to your suite.

Malmö is Building a 7-Story Bicycle House/Hotel that Accomodates Cargo Bikes! from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Clarence Eckerson Jr. of Streetfilms toured it recently; it is still under construction, with occupancy scheduled for the end of this year. He loves the concept: “ Wherever you have wanted to bring your cargo bike - into your apartment, in the elevator, thru the grand entrance to the complex and - yes - you can even wheel it right into your kitchen and unload groceries!”

Interior of unit© Cykelhuset Oboy!

Even in bike-friendly buildings in North America they frown on taking bikes in elevators, saying that they track in dirt, damage walls and demand more maintenance. But in this building designed by Hauschild + Siegel, all the walls are exposed concrete, and every finish appears to be bike friendly. Elevators are bigger, doorways wider, and there are places to park and lock the bike all over.

unit design© Cykelhuset Oboy!

There are lessons to be learned from the unit plans as well; note how there is a small lobby with an interior stair, with access to the unit via an exterior walkway, with a handrail that jogs to allow for exterior bike storage.

unit plans© Cykelhuset Oboy!

This allows for cross-ventilation through the unit, reducing or eliminating the need for air conditioning. Exterior balcony entrances are a tough sell in a cold climate, but if you are a tough year round cyclist, it probably isn’t too much of a bother (and actually, Malmo is pretty temperate, “with winter temperatures steady between −3 to 4 °C (27 to 39 °F), but it rarely drops below −10 °C (14 °F).” There are also lots of units with 2, 3 and even 4 bedrooms to accommodate families- yes, families actually manage to get by without a car.

It is not as radical a design as Dr. Steven Fleming’s idea for a building made of ramps, but there are ideas here that could be applied in North American cities. Lots to learn from Cykelhuset Ohboy!

window opening round© Cykelhuset Oboy!

It's not an apartment building, it's a bicycle house
There's a lot to learn from the Cykelhuset Oboy! in Malmo. There is!

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