Dezeen Magazine

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

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."