A bicycle garage by the Central Station in Uppsala, Sweden, has become a beacon of the city’s sustainability ambitions. Combining practical functionality with a strong design concept, Tengbom architects have sought to make the area safer, while reenforcing Uppsala’s identity as a bicycle community and as Global Climate City of the Year.
Thousands of people pass through Uppsala Central Station every day. To make it easier for the steadily growing number of commuters to travel sustainably, the municipality has chosen to invest in a new, two-story bicycle garage. Situated right next to the platforms, it can hold up to 1,200 of the daily commuters’ bicycles at once. The two floors are connected by a wooden ramp, making it possible to ride your bike between floors.
The bicycle garage has an exposed wood structure, clad in glass façades with black steel molding. Along with its triangular shape, this simplicity in structure and use of materials provide the building with a strong sense of identity. At the same time, its glass façades mirror their surroundings, causing the large volume to seemingly disappear from view at certain angles. The garage also relates to the station building next door through the mirroring of its lantern roof and geometric expression, though with an inverted use of steel and glass.
The building faces contrasting spaces on all three sides: the platform, a viaduct and a bus station. Restrained materials – concrete, black steel and wood – have been carefully selected to provide a sense of lightness and simplicity, giving the building a distinct but uncomplicated expression that works within each context. Solar cells are placed on the sedum-covered roof. While absorbing excess water from heavy downpours, the roof also functions as a fourth façade toward the many tall buildings that surround the bicycle garage.
Both environmental and social sustainability have been cornerstones throughout the project. The location right next to the station can be a somewhat dark and unsafe place to be, not just at night but also during the winter months when Uppsala only has a few hours of daylight every day. Through the use of lighting design, created in collaboration with a lighting consultant, Tengbom have strived to make the area safer while at the same time emphasizing the building’s wood structure. Inside the building, lighting effects have been added to the undersides of the wooden beams. Programmed to change colors, they create the illusion of the northern lights.