Woodform Architectural has experienced a recent surge in end-of-trip facility projects that seek our expertise in timber cladding and battens. Grateful for these commissions, we also became curious about why the bicyclist culture had become more entrenched in Melbourne than in other Australian cities.
|The use of multi-depth batten sequences adds interest and stimulation to end-of-trip cycling facilities. View and download more images here: Light-toned battens|
A city “reconquered”
In 1971 as a visiting professor, renowned Danish architect and urban design consultant Jan Gehl often wondered while walking the inner streets of Melbourne why they always seemed deserted. Later, he would become a moving force behind the rejuvenation of the city’s now world-famous streetscapes.
Influenced by his psychologist wife—who often asked him: “Why aren't you architects interested in people?"—Gehl had become instrumental in transforming car-happy Copenhagen into a pedestrian-oriented city. In Australia, Gehl met a kindred spirit in Rob Adams, a fellow architect and urban designer who was Director of City Design at the City of Melbourne and shared Gehl’s vision of improving the quality of urban life by re-orienting city design towards the pedestrian and cyclist.
Colourful aluminium battens offer a glimpse into how end-of-trip cycling facilities need not be bland afterthoughts. View and download more images here: Examples of aluminium battens
Places for People: Melbourne City, a collaboration between Gehl and the city government published in 1994, set 10-year targets to gradually renew Melbourne’s laneways, streets, and other spaces “into public places that are culturally engaging and diverse.” Some key recommendations were initially met with resistance. Exponentially increasing outdoor recreational spaces, for instance, was an idea some said was destined to fail because of the city’s fickle weather.
Proving the naysayers wrong, Melbourne is today experiencing an urban renaissance. Along with nine other cities (among them Copenhagen, Barcelona, Strasbourg, Portland, and Cordoba), Gehl considers Melbourne a “reconquered” city where “we can now enjoy the age-old joy of people meeting people, which is why people came to cities in the first place.”
Like riding a bike
The commitment displayed by Melbourne to become a cycling city as a matter of policy is evident in its 135-kilometre interconnecting network of on- and off-road biking routes and paths. Over 2000 on-street bicycle hoops have already been set up, and the number of off-street parking for cyclists is ever-increasing. (A bike pod in City Square offers self-contained showers, changing space, and even floor heating.)
Timber cladding in end-of-trip facilities epitomizes the environmental and well-being aspirations of cycling to work. View and download more images here: Timber cladding concepts
Commercial developments have followed the city’s lead. The ANZ Centre in downtown Melbourne, for example, has provisions for 560 bicycle racks, 750 lockers, and 59 showers (with free towel service) for its employees as well as visitors.
Working with architectural practices like Woods Bagot, Peddle Thorp, and Gray Puksand on several new end-of-trip cycling facilities, we at Woodform Architectural are very appreciative of the opportunity to help reinforce this transformative shift to a more enlightened mode of city transport.
Timber battens impart organic warmth to otherwise no-frills locker rooms and shower stalls. View and download more images here: Visual appeal of timber battens
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