Presented at the bike festival of Gothenburg just about a week ago, the Cycling Center by We Are You + Erik Hallberg aims to promote cycling and bring together different cycling communities in the city. With Gothenburg being a city strongly dominated by cars, more than other large Swedish cities, this project has started to turn this around and make Gothenburg a ‘bike city’ with role models such as Amsterdam and the neighboring and great example Copenhagen. In this work of switching over from cars to bikes, their proposed cycling stadium would act as a catalyst. To become a ‘bike city’, the perception of the bike and the cyclist among city inhabitants is crucial. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The group called cyclists is a scattered bunch of people ranging from commuters to exercisers and committed athletes. They are also divided by the choice of bike. Commuters rarely hang out with the people getting dirty in the woods and BMX riders have probably never had the chance to ask why roadies shave their legs. This calls for a change and that’s where this proposal took its starting point. Cyclists need an arena just like any other sport: soccer, ice hockey etc. where the stadium acts as the natural meeting point, ambassador of the sport and its practitioners. We also believe that sports are closely connected to everyday behavior and life style.
Introducing and making visible bike related sports in the city center is one way to do this – making cyclists visible to people and introducing the cycling sports to brand new spectators. But most of all, it would be an excellent way for a city to manifest its ambitions as a city for cyclists, and to say we care about cycling, in our city the cyclist is important and has a high status.
The building itself is proposed to be situated in the large central park called Slottsskogen in which the first Swedish cycling contest ever was held. This is also an area which many different cycling typologies cross or ride in today. The ambition was to design a building that was very open to the public and displaying its activities. A velodrome was the natural choice of track to include in the building, offering great cycling action packaged in a format perfect for the inner city.
There is also a strong demand for rain protected cycling facilities in Gothenburg, one of the rainier cities of Sweden. The track has been stranded on a steep hillside, allowing pedestrians and cyclist to pass under it on the same road that exists today. Between the road and the hill, under the track itself, a building containing a different program of cycling related spaces. The whole place is covered by a tensile roof that is a separate construction. The arena hardly occupies any land in the park and leaves the fields open for other activities, cycling related or not.