ALPHEN AAN DEN RIJN (NL) - It is an all too familiar problem in the Netherlands: the disorderly clutter of bicycles around the nation's train stations. And because the government actively encourages the use of both bicycles and public transport, it is a growing problem; there are too many bicycles for the racks provided, and so they are left laying around, to the disfigurement of many a station square. So when a station precinct is redesigned nowadays, the issue of bicycle parking is increasingly formulated as a separate architectural task. Indeed, the bicycle garage is becoming a genuine eye-catcher.
Amsterdam already has the 'multi-storey cycle garage' (VMX Architects), and in Groningen there is the 'Veranda' (KCAP), a raised plaza with round benches-cum-skylights, beneath which the cycles are parked. And now Alphen aan den Rijn has the Bicycle Apple, designed by Wytze Patijn, together with Silvian van Tuyl of KuiperCompagnons.
Patijn drew inspiration from a surreal representation of a green apple skin, artfully strung together with cords to reconstitute its original form. The bicycle garage is similarly constructed. The ramp with bicycle clamps is arranged as a spiral around the 'core' of steel columns. The 'skin' is formed by a pale green space frame. The Bicycle Apple can accommodate 970 cycles.