The FietsappelEdit profile
A long time ago a surreal illustration in a newspaper inspired Wytze Patijn, architect and former director of the Rotterdam architectural agency KuiperCompagnons, and currently a dean at the University of Technology in Delft, to create the Fietsappel at the railway station's square in Alphen aan den Rijn. As a great big green outer skin laced together in steel, it looks like a tasty and ready-to-be-eaten apple. The original context of the object disappeared, but the image of a transparent space wrapped in a peel remained rather exciting.
The Municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn has been working on the plans for the station area since 1998. In 2004 KuiperCompagnons elaborated the existing and final master plan into an image quality plan and a zoning plan. These urban development plans described the need to create a recognisable identity for the station's square, which gave rise to the idea of providing the station's square with a striking eye-catching element by way of the Fietsappel.
Together with Silvian van Tuyl, an architect at KuiperCompagnons and the agency Octatube Space Structures, Patijn created a steel engineering structure from the visual motif of the peeled apple, which measures 27.5 metres in diameter and has a height of 15.5 metres.
Although the apple-shaped basis looks rather simple, the three-dimensional design was a formidable challenge. The ramp on which the bicycles are parked wraps itself like a spiral (the apple peel) around a conical 'core' of steel columns. The outer shell is a transparent, space truss. This design led to a complex three-dimensional structure in which every detail is absolutely unique. So they opted to first assemble the entire structure at the business premises of Jos van den Bersselaar Constructie BV, and then to dismantle it in individual sections for transportation to the location. The entire building process could be monitored in real time on the builder's website.
Construction of the Fietsappel commenced at the beginning of 2010. Since August the unguarded bicycle shed at the station's square has provided shelter for about 970 bicycles. The unguarded storage facilities in the station area of Alphen aan den Rijn houses approximately 2,775 bicycles. There are also guarded facilities that can house 1,280 bicycles.
By constructing the 'Fietsappel', the Municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn has created a unique piece of cityscape, a vivid 'landmark' in the new station area.
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