Foster's London towers to feature
one bike parking space per bedroom

250 City Road by Foster + Partners

News: a twin-towered residential development by Foster + Partners is set to become the most cycle-friendly high-rise in London, with one bike parking space per bedroom.

The 250 City Road development, which launched last week, features 1,486 bike parking spaces – one and a half for each of the 930 apartments – but only 200 car parking spaces.

It also features dedicated bike lifts and a bike workshop for residents located beneath the 32- and 46-storey twin skyscrapers, which will occupy the site of a 1980s business park.

250 City Road by Foster + Partners

"The project has a dedicated cycle lift from ground to basement level, where the cycle storage areas are located," said Giles Robinson, partner at Foster + Partners and the project architect for the scheme. "At the basement level there is a dedicated cycle maintenance workshop that enables cycles to be cleaned and maintained."

The high level of cycling provision exceeds Transport for London's latest cycle design guidelines for new developments, which were published earlier this month.

250 City Road by Foster + Partners

Under the guidelines, the 130,600-square-metre project would be expected to provide 1,223 spaces. However Islington Council's planners insisted on even higher provision.

Notes from the planning meeting held on 1 April last year state that the council "requested that the level of cycle parking be increased from 1,223 to 1,483 cycle parking spaces, which is in effect one space per bedroom. The applicant has agreed to this amendment."

"We undertook an exercise to maximise the bicycle count and managed to increase the number to 1,483," said Robinson. One quarter of the spaces will be provided in stackable storage racks.

250 City Road by Foster + Partners

"It's a figure that spectacularly reflects changing attitudes to cycling in London," said Peter Murray, a member of the London Mayor's Design Advisory Group and a keen cyclist. "It represents a big shift in London. All new developments have to meet the [cycle provision] requirements, but since this is a tall and dense project the impact and scale is impressive."

Murray added: "TfL's new London Cycling Design Standards starts with the words 'Cycling is now mass transport and must be treated as such'. Developments have to take this cultural shift on board and allow not just for immediate requirements but for future growth."

250 City Road by Foster + Partners

Developer Berkeley brought Foster + Partners on board for the project after buying the site and inheriting a previous design that it felt was not of high enough architectural merit.

An earlier version of Foster's design was made public in 2013, forming part of an emerging cluster of tall buildings located between Angel and Old Street. The twin-tower development also includes space for restaurants and cafes, retail units, three floors of office space and a 190-bedroom hotel.

Residents also have access to swimming and gym facilities

UNStudio's almost-complete Canaletto tower is part of the same cluster, and will also offer 209 cycle parking spaces for 109 apartments, with just 78 underground parking spaces.

Foster + Partners has a reputation for encouraging cycle culture. Last year Norman Foster unveiled a concept design for a network of elevated cycle paths above London's railways. Called SkyCycle, the project was developed with landscape architects Exterior Architecture and transport consultant Space Syntax, and aimed to create a 220-kilometre "cycling utopia" of dedicated lanes.

250 City Road by Foster + Partners

"Low carbon transportation is always encouraged at Foster + Partners and we are proud that 21 per cent of our employees cycle to work, with a further 20 per cent walking," said Robinson. "This compares to the London average where just three per cent of trips are completed by bike."

Foster's headquarters building at Battersea in west London is one of the most cycle-friendly in the city, Robinson added. "To encourage cycling we have expansive cycle storage facilities across our campus, a solar powered shower block, and drying rooms to be used by our staff. We offer regular free bike mechanic sessions, which sees over 160 employees having their bikes serviced and checked for safety. We also actively promote the cycle to work scheme within the practice."

  • Flomich

    Of course! Because he knows quite well that after buying one of those they won’t have any money left for a car… Smart!

  • J B

    Can you post higher resolution images?

    • marcusfairs

      Do you mean higher-resolution images, or larger ones? Or both?

      • JB

        You could keep your current setup but just have a link underneath each image without scaling to its original size.

        For example, you would show the Foster image at 468 x 500 pixels and have a link to the original size which could be 1280 x 720 pixels or larger.


        Keep up the great work.


      • Chris MacDonald

        Pretty sure that until we can choose the DPI that websites are viewed at, the two are intertwined.

      • Daniel Brown

        I think they mean more pixels, Marcus. It’s quite hard to masturbate to these little ones :-O

        • jdei

          AHAHAHA, I am laughing my shaitze out of me! =))

  • Jack Gorman

    I was excited by this until I saw that none of the images have a single cyclist in them! Afterthought just to get through planning…

    • marcusfairs

      The cycling provision isn’t mentioned (or shown) in the press material but instead came out of a conversation with the architect at the launch event. We thought it was a good story, even though the images don’t support it.

      • name

        If you look closely there is a hook on each bedroom wall for your fixie bike that will be used for getting from the lift to your benz/Porsche.

  • Dani

    The parasitic nature of people will “conquer” that space and turn into anything except bike storage. It’s like illegal additions to buildings in degenerating places.

  • ivan

    If my multi-million pound project ended up being praised only on the number of bike-spaces, I’d be quite sad really.

  • John Hannah

    High modern greenwashing. Colour me unimpressed.

  • Daniel Brown

    Methinks the residents are going to be just like this:

  • LV

    Honestly, I don’t give a sh*t to the bike parking, especially because it seems here that this matter is more important than the building and its architecture itself.

    If it was, show me the renderings of this amazing bike parking and how innovator it is. Now, let’s talk about the building?

    Hum, Foster, come on, you can do so much better than that. From all the new buildings in City Road, yours definitely is the most BORING one. So many opportunities to build amazing things in London and yet nothing exciting… Shame.

    • jon

      In fairness all the new developments in City road are horrific, outdone only by their own names.

  • John Moss

    I would be interested to see an audit of schemes with bike parking two years after completion to see how many residents actually use these spaces.

    • Thomas Wensing

      In my new apartment building (Bow, east London) the cycling spaces were generous but are continuously overflowing.

    • Thom Chesshyre

      Well the development I’m in has about four bikes parked to each space. I too would be interested, but I think based on the sarcastic tone of your comment you’d be unpleasantly surprised.

  • Bob

    What about a Smart car lift too? Reminds me of a glass version of the Barbican. I like the change of usual 90º position relationship of tower to road.

  • Thomas Wensing

    As an aside, I don’t think the way in which the towers are sitting on the base is well resolved. The lower blocks now appear dwarfed.

    • tom

      This shouldn’t be an aside, it’s good to hear people talking about the architecture itself.