Those nice Swedes have taken things to a new level. Not content with giving us flat pack furniture, the world’s safest car and Abba, they are now busy building the world’s first apartment block where the cycle has replaced the car.
“The strategy is to look at why people have to use cars, and substitute bikes for the cars,” says architect Cord Siegel of Hauschild + Siegel, the company which designed the seven-story Cykelhuset (“bicycle house”).
They’ve really thought it through too. People tended to use cars to go shopping so the architects have included extra large mailboxes to receive online shopping purchases. And if someone needs to collect a large item from the city, there will be a rack of cargo bikes for people to borrow. These are big enough to substitute for a station wagon with all that entails. The kids can be dropped of at school or day care and the parents can cart home a new microwave on the way back.
The lifts are being designed larger than usual and to open both sides so that the cargo bikes don’t have to turn around inside. There’s parking both downstairs, in a bike garage, and in front of each door. Bikes also easily fit inside the apartments.
“You can come with the bicycle directly to your apartment,” says Siegel. “If you buy something you can transport it in front of the fridge.”
Because the building is just a few minutes by bike to the central train station–it also will be easy for residents to get to work. The building will offer commuter bikes for people who want to use a folding bike on the train and a “mobility subscription” that includes car pools, a bike repair service, and credits on the bus or train to use when the weather is bad.
Even the visual design of the building is bike-inspired; the round windows are a reference to bike wheels.