Bike Shop

by Liang Chen

Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Year: 2013
Keywords: Bicycle; Adaptability; Sustainability; Bikes
Record ID: 1304324
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10063/3132


The aim of the research is to develop a new model of bicycling supporting infrastructure that is cost-efficient, easily fabricated and installed, energy-efficient, globally transportable and adaptable to site. Cycling has entered into a new era, with a large population of active cyclists competing with unsustainable fossil fuel transport systems. The increase in cycling is a result of rising fossil fuel costs and a more environmentally aware public. The thesis seeks an architectural way of provoking greater incentives for cycling by increasing its appeal and ease of engagement, while decreasing related infrastructure costs. The design proposes ‘Bike Shop’, an architecturally integrated cycling support facility that can be positioned at regular intervals along a cycling route. The design research challenge is to conceive a facility that is self-sustaining, adaptable, economically produced, environmentally sensitive, portable and able to be applied globally. As a vehicle for design, the Great Harbour Way/Te Aranui o Pōneke will be used. The Great Harbour Way includes plans for a parallel cycling route that stretches over 50 kilometres along the shoreline in the Greater Wellington region from Eastbourne to Owhiro Bay. The Greater Wellington Regional Council has proposed their second highest funding of large projects over $5 million for walking and cycling development in the region. The funding of $17.05 million goes towards the development for a walkway/cycleway between Ngaraunga and Petone. This thesis will test how prefabricated methods such as kit-of-parts and mass customisation techniques can reduce costs yet encourage adaptability to address the wide range of conditions that the Great Harbour Way offers. The challenge of the design experiment for this facility will be to become a new model of cycling infrastructure around the world. The thesis proposes to reinterpret the Bike Shop as a linear sequence of cycling facilities that inhabit the Great Harbour Way. The Bike Shop is to be placed on this stretch of shoreline at fixed intervals. At these locations with the wide range of site conditions the design challenge is for the facility to arrive as a kit-of-parts, be assembled quickly and adapted to unique site conditions. The thesis proposes a program where each architecturally integrated facility along the linear sequence will function as new cycling infrastructure, where simultaneously a bike can be repaired or a tire can be inflated or a bicyclist can rest and rehydrate with other cyclists off the road. In this way, each facility will promote safe cycling, thereby providing safety, environmentally sustainable energy, and public health benefits to more cyclists. In this way, the thesis argues that the facilities will be recognized as signifiers of the city as well as markers of location and orientation. Overall this thesis invites prefabricated elements to be adaptable in ways that make them responsive and beautifully reflect the site rather than just repetitive.