Ady Leverette was a designer and a principal at Fat Pencil Studio between 2011 and 2018.
We've been working in the Ford Building for a few months now, and we love everything about it. Ok, we love almost everything about it. The thing is, all three of us at Fat Pencil Studio commute to work by bike. And now that the rains have come in full force, the scarcity of indoor bike parking in the building has commanded our attention. As you can see, there is plenty of space, but the existing rack only accommodates about 7 bikes in a jumble.
So we shook off our wet helmets and scratched our heads to see if we couldn't come up with some ideas about how the bike parking situation could be improved, while making sure that existing public space functions—freight clearance, mailroom circulation, and exhibition space—were not compromised.
The first step was to identify potentially underused areas on the ground floor. Many spots were ruled out because they would block the rotating art exhibits that hang on the walls. We were really excited about a long stretch of wide hallway on the south side of the building, but it turned out that the clearance needed for pallet jacks made it too tight even for bikes parked parallel to the wall. So the most fruitful place to focus our efforts ended up being the central hub of the building, which includes a conference room and the mail zone.
Here is the analysis we came up with.
As the layout below shows, reorganizing the elements of the mail zone and adding a short dividing wall makes a clearly delineated space that very comfortably accomodates 12 bikes. Tucking in clusters of racks around the adjacent conference room makes for an additional 24 spots.
We did research on different rack types, and came to the conclusion that the ubiquitous staple-style rack is the most effective. It’s less expensive than high-concept custom racks, and each rack can comfortably accomodate two bikes. The Tofino version by Sportworks has a nice no-scratch feature that protects bikes and looks sleek (shown in the rendering above).