Gizmag covers lots of blue-sky building concepts for the cities of the future, but forward-thinking architecture is often just a matter of simple practicality. London's 250 City Road will enable its occupants to be more active, sustainable and frugal. The building is designed for cyclists.

Project architects Foster + Partners explains that the aim for 250 City Road is to turn what was a 1980s business park into a "high-density, low energy residential community." The development comprises two towers, seven blocks and one four-star hotel, all of which will be built over three phases.

The site is located in a busy central area of London, not far from the trendy areas of Old Street, Shoreditch and Hoxton. Given its location, the eventual occupants of 250 City Road will be able to reach much of central London by bike. Good transport links, meanwhile, ensure that occupants are well connected to other areas in the city and beyond, with it then being possible to make additional onward travel also by bike.

With this in mind, the development has been designed with 1,486 spaces for bicycle storage. This is significantly more than the 930 apartments that the development will house and will provide spaces for multiple bike owners per apartment in some cases. The bike spaces will be located in the basement of the building and residents will benefit from special bike elevators and also a bike workshop.

In addition to facilities for cyclists, 250 City Road will have a variety of sustainability and community features, including electric car charging points. The development will have around 2 ac (8,100 sq m) of open space, with green roofs, native and flowering flora, bird and bat boxes and a natural pond all incorporated into the design. The green roofs will help to reduce surface water runoff to the surrounding drainage systems.

Each apartment will have an energy display monitor that helps residents to track and manage their energy consumption. LED lighting will be used throughout, with passive infra-red sensors employed in communal areas to turn off lighting when it is not needed. Integrated recycling bins in the apartments will make it easier for residents to separate their waste.

A rainwater harvesting system will be used to irrigate the landscaped areas of the development, reducing the reliance on mains water. The buildings themselves, meanwhile, will be built using sustainably sourced timber.

Foster + Partners tells Gizmag that each apartment will be built to Code for Sustainable Homes level 4 standard and will each use at least 25 percent less energy than a home designed to current building regulations. A Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system will provide hot water to the homes and the development will be connected to the Bunhill heating network, which aims to provide cheap green heating and power. Electricity generated from a 53 kW solar array, meanwhile, will help to power the communal areas.

For residents, public areas will all be covered by Wi-Fi. Residents will have access to a rooftop gym and terrace, a 20 m (66 ft) three-lane pool, a jacuzzi, a steam room and a sauna. A business lounge and a 24-hour concierge service will also be available. As well as apartments and a hotel, the development will house shops and cafes.

The first completed sections of 250 City Road development are expected in 2018, with final completion expected in 2023.

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