Bike apple bike station: cool or just kitsch?

If I am to trust those coolhunting blogs that chase anything natty and green, then the green-apple-shapped bicycle parking station in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands (by Wytze Patijn & Kuiper Compagnons architects) is a giant leap forward for humankind. I have put off blogging about it for some time, waiting for the right flattering line. But there is no positive angle from which to report on this structure—at least none that would convince my high-brow readers. It is true, isn’t it gentlemen, that we feel uneasy in the presence of kitsch.

The calculated pandering to popular taste evident in this bike parking spiral, bent into the shape of an apple, painted apple green, but ultimately built on the cheap, has the aesthetic delight of cheap clocks, stacks of coasters, kitchen timers and countless similar items, ultimately bound for one-dollar shops and then lawn sales.

For gods sake, haven’t our mothers bought us enough crap shaped like green apples for christmas and our birthdays! Must we be reduced to ending our bike trips in green apples as well! The value of architecture to cycling is that it can lend cycling prestige, not build infrastructure, that like too many bikes, looks like some rejected novelty product from Guangdong Province in China.

6 Comments

  1. Marc says:

    Well, they could have gone with the utilitarianism and symbolism of an oil barrel, if you prefer 🙂 the green apple may be cheap and kitschy but it beats every single multi story carpark I’ve ever come across, hands down. And isn’t that still better for bikes?

  2. Steven says:

    Hi Marc. All very good points. Not the points I would have made. But good points all the same 🙂

  3. paul says:

    It’s full of bikes. That is a lot of cycling and many fewer cars.

  4. Gusto says:

    I like butterflies.

    • Paul says:

      Then I thought why so many bikes in one place? Isn’t one of the main benefits of biking that you can cycle right to the door of the place you are going and leave your bike right there. The walk from the top floor of the bike park building to the ground seems too far to me, let alone the distance from there to wherever I was going. Then I saw the tracks. Guess it’s a railway station and the park is for people who bike from home to the station then take the train to work. I guess if there are that many people using the trains they’re not ready yet to turn over the bike corridor to cyclists. Unless everyone on the trains is a cyclist then maybe …?

    • Steven says:

      Hi Paul, yes, it serves a train station. I guess you were too busy tearing up Holland in your velomobile to notice the slackers hopping between towns on trains. It’s nice to imagine covered bike super highways and/or velomobiles replacing inter-city train use, but then trains have such huge capacity, thanks to there way you can jam people in.

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