As bike commuting becomes more popular, facilities where you can store your bike, extra clothes and even take a shower will become a necessity. These bike facilities could even possibly replace parking lots, which is exactly what Annie Scheel proposes with her BIKE center for Philadelphia. Scheel took home first prize in a recent competition hosted by the Delaware Valley Green Building Council with her stellar all-in-one bike facility and master plan that gives urban bikers a place of their own in the city. While the parking lot has capacity for 100 cars, the bike storage facility could hold up to 690 bikes on four levels, which if fully utilized would significantly reduce automobile congestion in the city — not to mention pollution.

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Proposed for a central location at 13th & Market, BIKE is a public amenity for the people of Philly. The structure includes bike storage, a bike shop, a restaurant, a courtyard, showers, meeting rooms, bike sharing and even bike rentals for tourists. Its location provides easy access to the central business district, public transportation lines, and tourist attractions.

Scheel’s design would take over an existing parking lot, repurposing half of it into a bicycle facility and developing the other half for commercial purposes. The bike transit center consists of an L-shaped building in the back with offices, rooms, showers, stores and restaurants. The street is lined with a multi-story bike storage system, which closes off the central courtyard and green space. This courtyard design helps ease the urban heat island effect while providing natural daylighting and ventilation.

As interest in bike commuting increases, Scheel’s design has room to expand and would take over additional parking lot or infill lots strategically located throughout the city for similar facilities. Unfortunately, this was a totally hypothetical design competition and at this time there are not plans for this facility to be built — but wouldn’t it be cool?

+ Delaware Valley Green Building Council 2010 Sustainable Design Competition