Lighting up cycling in Norway

Nick Myall
05 Dec 2016

This bicycle hotel features a free form wooden roof resting on a glass box and promotes cycling around Lillestrøm

Norway has set ambitious targets for an environmental and sustainable future. As a result an increasing number of railway stations now have a bicycle hotel, to promote cycling. On Monday 10 October 2016 the Lillestrøm Bicycle Hotel designed by Various Architects AS, opened in the city that has been frequently voted Norway´s best cycling city.

The project was commissioned by ROM Eiendom AS and The Norwegian National Railways and the design of the building focuses on making a positive contribution to the surroundings. The project gives back to the city the area it takes away by providing a public green rooftop, which directly connects to the main square of the Train Station.

The glass box consists of transparent glass walls and a playful concrete base that protects the building against the surrounding heavy traffic. The transparent glass walls allow natural light to filter through during the day and transform the building into a glowing box at night, providing a special visual experience. The mood of the building keeps changing from day to night.

The dynamic wooden roof that lays on top of the glass box, slopes diagonally down to the west towards the train station plaza. This gesture provides an inviting public access to the top. The roof is conformed by furnishing, vegetation, stairs and slopes, creating a unique experience with a panoramic view towards Lillestrøm.

The glass walls continue over the roof, turning into the balustrade around the public area. At the same time, the roof penetrates through the walls to frame the entrance and to provide a shelter against rain.

Together the glass box and the roof create an intimate yet open and accessible public space.

The interior space focuses on the function of the building with light and natural surfaces. The double story bicycle rack becomes the main element in the space. The room height varies from 2.70 m to 6.00 m following to the curvature of the roof.

The selection of materials was inspired on the surrounding context based on it´s exposed and raw materials such as concrete, U-glass, steel, wood and green sedum:

Fair faced concrete is used for internal floors and walls exposing the roughness of the material.

The Glass walls are constructed using U-Glass profiles, which are self-supporting and require no metal profiles. The assembly of the glass walls leaves a small gap between each profile, generating a permeable element between the street and the bicycle parking, this provides a sense of safety to the users.

Wood is used for the roof surface, furnishing and as a structural material in the curved timber beams. Wood is chosen for it´s environmental qualities in addition to the gentle interaction with the public.

The trapezoidal metal sheets used for the roof structure are exposed to function as the interior ceiling. The raw silver surface allows the light to spread both inside and outside.

Green sedum covers part of the roof to absorb water and to bring nature to the public space. It also provides an extra layer of thermal insulation on the roof thus protecting the building from cold in the winter and combating the heat in summer.

In consistence with the design concept and the materials principle, the structure of the building is also exposed an honest. The timber beams, exposed in the interior to define the curvature of the roof. A collaborative design process with structural engineers rustled in creating a simple roof structure with repetitive beam shapes to reduce the cost. The shape of the roof is simplified to be a single curved structure, with a diagonal slope to maintain it´s dynamic form and experience and allows rain drainage. The wooden roof lays on thin steel columns, liberating the roof to be perceived as a separate floating element.

The building has a minimal energy consumption. At day time no lighting is required since the glass walls allow for natural day light. During the night the artificial lighting double functions for the illumination of the interior and provides additional lighting to the surroundings. Natural crossed ventilation is possible through the gaps between the glass profiles hence no additional ventilation is required.

The whole building glows at night, creating a unique spot for anyone to enjoy a moment amongst the green roof overlooking the city´s skyline.

Nick Myall

News editor

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