Introducing the “slip block”, where your bike replaces the lift.

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.

360sqf appartment with bike parking inside

360sqf appartment with 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)?


imagesImagine 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“.IMG_3425

I can't roller skate in a buffalo herd, but i can ride on the roof of the Unite d'Habitation

I can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, but i can ride on the roof of the Unite d’Habitation


  1. Si T says:

    Reminds me a little of 1960’s Park Hill Development in Sheffield, England. Being revamped by Urban Splash at the mo, but original has ramp and streets in the sky access big enough to accommodate a milk float. Wonder if anyone cycles from their door to the ground? Nice blog about Park Hill here inc pic of milk float in action! Also not sure what sort of music you like but great use of Park Hill in this video by Cabaret Voltaire

    • Steven says:

      Thanks for that. I think Park Hill is probably the closest parallel. I haven’t been there, but never quite understood how the famous milk float got to the higher levels?

  2. matthew says:

    Si, got there first, it reminds me of Park Hill as well. I used to live there, and yes, all but the top deck (calling them floors was so passe) could be accessed from ground level.
    Being able to take a lift, and then ride along the smooth asphalt to my front door was pretty good though, especially when it started raining, which it does in Sheffield a fair bit.

    The blocks had industrial sized lifts at the junction of the blocks which was how milk floats got up there, but the council still had a fleet of little electric buggies with trailers to collect the rubbish on bin day. Actual bins would have been dangerous, they would have been thrown over and killed people, it was bin bags only.

    • Steven says:

      I must say, it’s nice to hear something positive about the place!
      I used to live in Singapore, and was actually designing corbusian towers and slab blocks. It wasn’t such a bad life, except for the slow claustrophobic lifts.

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