Our latest completed project at Keble College has been entered for AJ Small Projects 2017. Rick Mather Architects have designed a bike shelter to provide cover for Keble's students 280 on-site bikes. The shelter designed is conceived as a floating translucent cloud curving through five large existing London Plane trees.
The site is sensitive in both historic and landscape terms and is set in the context of William Butterfield's Grade I-listed ranges; the RMA ARCO and Sloane Robinson buildings and Newman Quad. The design of the canopy minimises visual impact on the surrounding trees whilst standing lightly on the ground.
The structure of the canopy carefully steps around the trees above ground and their roots below ground, utilising minimal columns, feet and small pads. The above ground structure is a slim and refined ‘V' structure of standard galvanized steel posts and off-the-shelf fittings.
The structure supports an overlapping ‘scale' of translucent polycarbonate panels that sinuously snake along the existing bike racks and site contours providing shelter and channelling water to the tree roots. The profile of the roof is visible from the garden and provides a consistent variegated horizon to the existing planted slope. The roof is not a complete enclosure with gaps left in the aisles for light and views to the trees.
The design uses standard components, steel sections and regular panel sizes installed in a bespoke manner providing an effective solution for a large shelter on a complex site. The modularisation of elements also allowed the shelter to be installed quickly as a kit of parts.
By night the shelter glows from beneath with a small LED strip illuminating the bikes and the polycarbonate soffit.