Like a lot of cities that want to encourage more people to bike, the town of Drammer, Norway, had a parking problem: There just weren’t enough bike racks to go around. At the main train station, people locked up their bikes wherever they could find a spot and then worried about theft.
So the city built a “bike hotel,” transforming an old railway building into secure parking for 134 bicycles, including two spots for cargo bikes and four charging spots for electric bikes. If anyone gets a flat, there’s an air pump on hand. Members can unlock the hotel with a mobile app.
The building was originally built in 1868 as the main station building for the train stop, and the designers wanted to carefully preserve the architecture–a complicated all-wood mix of French, Swiss, German, and medieval Norwegian styles that celebrated the country’s independence from Sweden.
“We wanted to take care of and keep this extraordinary wood construction, to let people see in their everyday life what beautiful building traditions our nation was built on,” says Magne Magler Wiggen, partner at MMW Architects. “We really wanted people to get a glimpse into a historic space. We even wanted the building to smell like in the old days, so we used old tar-smelling oil products.”
The design restored all of the oldest parts of the building, which had been used only for storage for around 200 years. The only change, apart from the new bike racks, was a new wall for one side of the building with perforated metal panels that were inspired by tree branches in a local forest–appropriate for a train station that’s named Gullskogen, or the Golden Forest.