With space for 12,500 bicycles, the massive bicycle park at Utrecht Central Station provides a light, accessible and safe underground facility for cyclists and is integrated within what is the largest transport hub in the Netherlands.

Structural design meets vision to integrate functionality and aesthetics

The key challenges for the structural design team were to ensure cyclists’ safety and create an efficient flow within the bicycle park, while delivering an architectural vision which combined form and function. At the same time, the new development needed to be successfully integrated with construction taking place across the station area.

The bicycle park is situated under the station square. Its roof forms the elevated area of the square and is supported by walls and columns within the park. The bike park was designed to have minimal finish applied to the concrete, so the structure is of high quality throughout, becoming a feature of the architectural design itself. Above the station square is a steel canopy supported by seven columns. Three of these are trumpet-shaped and rise-up from the bicycle park to extend for three storeys, dramatically integrating structural functionality and aesthetics.

Flexible model could adapt and change

Over the course of the project, it was necessary to integrate closely with the rest of the construction plans for the area. Modifications were easily accommodated using in-built flexibility provided by Building Information Modelling (BIM) which allows plans to be adapted and updated easily.Simulations based on actual behaviour of cyclists created logical and safe routes through the park, ensuring smooth traffic flow and good sight lines. BIM, used together with simulations, also ensured the area remained safe and accessible for public transport, cyclists, cars and pedestrians during construction and that temporary routes matched actual human behaviour.

The approach, which integrated architecture, infrastructure and construction, worked optimally to deliver an inner-city bike park which is comfortable, safe and accessible.

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