There is something about this architecture racket, that compels we victims of it, to remodel every house we ever live in. Stage 2 of the Dr. Behooving family home project, is about to get underway. Now please don’t tell my Primrose, but my plan for the ground floor of this remodelled old terrace, is to transform it into an unencumbered “minimalist” space, that by stealth will become a parking lot for 8 bikes—2 per family member.
The natural place for bikes, I have realised after much study of cyclists’ abodes, is against the nearest wall to the front door. Though my house, in its present configuration, includes a bike hanging room, the convenience of that first wall inside the front door, means bikes are forever migrating there, rather than being hung in their designated bike store room. As the American architect Louis Kahn would have said, the front room “wants to be” the bicycle storage room. All good intensions, to park our bikes some place discrete, fly out the window when the business of the day determines they be leant over here, against this first wall.
When hat stands were invented to go inside front doors, did people say hats were too unseemly to go where visitors would encounter them, upon arrival? Likewise for elephants’ feet umbrella stands: ghastly a thing that it is, mine lives at my front door, and does not raise an eyebrow. Are raincoats relegated to hangers deep inside houses, so that no-one might know we deign to walk outside in the rain? Bicycles—emblems of our frugality, stoicism, physical strength, and care for the city and planet—deserve pride of place in the home.
I imagine front rooms designed in the image of Morgan’s Bicycles in Sydney, where bikes sit on display, as though each were made by Henry Moore. My dear Primrose, please don’t be antsy about bikes leaning against the front wall, after we have done our big reno. Images of that space, and its bikes, will be trending on Twitter, inspiring architects the world over to fill front rooms with bikes, and when we are old, young pilgrim architects will be arranging visits to see the famous bike room, that revolutionised housing.
By the way, I am fairly well qualified to speak on behalf of poor Louis Kahn, even though he is dead. You might even like my book on poor Lou.