Architects are under increasing pressure, it seems, to come up with innovative uses for the roofs of the buildings they design. Where once it was perfectly acceptable for building tops to merely keep out the rain, or perhaps, at a push, prop up an air conditioning unit or two, they are now expected to combat climate change, generate energy, and if possible, provide functional living space.
Asked to come up with a design for a bicycle club to be built in a large resort somewhere in Southern China, NL Architects have arguably gone one better, proposing to site a fully functional velodrome on the roof. Sitting on top of a bike rental shop and a cafe, if built it will be perfectly possible for people to hire a bicycle and ride it for a few hours without ever leaving the building.
The Netherlands-based designers compare their concept with a traditional pagoda, with the steeply banked bends of the bicycle track forming upward-curving eaves from the point of view of outside observers. NL Architects also claims the high, protruding roof could be "very welcome" in South China's tropical climes, presumably for the shade casts in the immediate exterior.
Architizer reports that the bicycle club-cum-velodrome could be built before the year's out.