At the risk of overdosing on kind thoughtful reactions to my bike-centric ground plane (thank you Archinect for providing that forum), I have decided to expose myself to reactions to an idea we’ve been developing here, for an apartment block entirely navigated by bike. Even the smallest flats would have room for bike parking inside.
Some background: two of us, Rafael and myself, live part way up a hill, that we gladly climb on our bikes at the end of each day when returning from work. Living up here affords us both views from our houses, and a burst of exercise at the end of each day. Like most people who live on hills, we don’t complain that there isn’t something like Lisbon’s Santa Justa Lift to help us each day. We just ride our bikes up the hill, and are on-the-whole grateful to be kept fit.
From where we live there are also some stairs down to the town, but walking back up those every day without panniers bearing the weight of our luggage would be about as much fun as living at the top of a walk-up apartment, a nightmare for parents, and anyone who buys groceries in bulk.
Here’s a thought then: a ride up apartment. BIG made a start with their 8-House in Copenhagen, that I explore on my bike in this video…
…but what if every door in a block of apartments could be reached on a bike (or mobility scooter, or pedicab, or pedal powered delivery van)?
Imagine a slab block pointing north/south to capture sun on both sides in the Winter. (Nothing new there that Corb didn’t do with his Unite, pictured right). But what if the whole block were tilted, then each level extended until its access corridor met with the ground? Click the first slide below then scroll through to understand the concept development. The access corridors are 5 meters wide to make space for guest bicycle parking outside every flat.
If it catches on, and you all call it the “slip block”, I’ll have something to tell my sons I achieved with my life. An alternating rhythm of wedges mitigates against the totalitarian feel you get with parallel slab blocks, giving most apartments either some sort of outlook, or else a good connection to the ground plane.
When built on the kind of ground plane I explained with my last post, these blocks can be passed beneath on a bike at 60 meter intervals. More bike-centric building types can be found on this site under “bicycletecture“. I also have a pinterest board, “Architecture inviting of cycling“.