Porcelanosa Lifestyle 23·10·2020
Architecture on two wheels PORCELANOSA
The urban paradigm shift includes bikes as a priority. It has been a long and slow road to raising awareness among citizens and institutions, because the goal is the optimal adjustment to a more agile and healthy kind of mobility. The first determining effect is less pollution, through gradual pedestrianisation and the steady introduction of bikes as an essential vehicle for urban cohesion.
In the Nordic countries, the positive impact of bikes outweighs the supposedly negative conditions of a colder climate. In other words, bad weather does not bother the citizens of Amsterdam or Copenhagen, cities at the top of the world rankings for being the most liveable and least polluted. And this is largely due to the regular use of bikes to get around.
The efforts of pedestrians to safeguard their spaces in the cities is also important, as well as the benefits of bikes compared to cars in terms of safety and convenience.
In recent months, this transformation has been accelerating; riding a bike is much healthier and it is said that it offers less chance of catching viruses and bacteria. The timeless two-wheel vehicle creates a city with a more human rhythm, without pollution, without noise, and without large-scale parking areas.
For many councils in polluted cities, the possibility to travel on two wheels would improve quality of life and the structure of the cities. Numerous architects around the world are aware of these advantages, and they are driving political and social changes in urban planning with new communal spaces for bikes.
Architect Bjarke Ingels has a long-standing commitment to bikes, primarily due to his Danish roots. Cycling culture has been engrained in his home country for many years. He now lives in Barcelona, and changing the citizens get around the city is one of his main goals.
As an architect, perspective is linked to natural and sustainable spaces and with life experiences in which health comes first. One of the product designs he is known for is the smart bike Biomega OKO.The design was created by the purpose-built studio, KiBiSi, a company that combines the activities of its founding partners, Bjarke Ingels (architect), Lars Larsen (industrial designer) and Jens Martin Skibsted (designer). The OKO bike includes an electric motor to provide pedal assistance for hills and for covering long distances. The 250-watt motor has a range of up to 40 kilometres between charges.
The designer’s Big studio introduced the bike to the urban setting of Shanghai a number of years ago as an advanced lifestyle formula.
The building the embodied this new mobility is the Danish Pavilion, designed as a double spiral so pedestrians and cyclists can coexist in an example of the integration of architecture and mobility.
His passion for aeroplanes is well-known, as is his advocacy of bikes.
The designs of bikes had changed very little since they were invented, until the emergence of Alex Multon, a pioneer of innovation in bikes with their fundamental functional elements. The foundation is simplicity from all perspectives. This is the reason why Norman Foster himself decided to contribute to their modernisation by including the integration of bikes into each of his projects. Some of these projects are currently renders, cutting-edge proposals, such as the one designed for London, but it is true that Foster emphasises the role of bikes in inspiring the immediate future of cities.
Belén Moneo & Jeff Brock
Jeff Brock and Belén Moneo have ridden bikes for many years. They did so in the first city where they lived together, New York, and then in Madrid. They are staunch advocates of this vehicle. Tireless activists; for both of them, a bike is a fundamental mode of transport for any modern and sustainable city. One of their projects is focused on the city of Madrid, where they have several ongoing projects, and they run platforms such as “Madrid en bici”.
Ector Hoogstad Architecten
Last year in the Netherlands, the Ector Hoogstad architecture studio opened the world’s largest bicycle parking garage in Utrecht.
It is an integrated community vision, spanning both indoors and out. It is a testing hub that will be developed over time. In principle, some 12,000 bicycles can be parked at Utrecht Central station.
The objective? To decongest the city and radically reduce pollution. Clearly, this initiative could be exported to many cities across the world. The most prestigious and avant-garde architects are betting on two wheels. No one can deny that bikes are here to stay, and they are a perfect option for responsible and sustainable mobility.
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