Bike Parking IJboulevard

Amsterdam (NL), 2023



This underwater parking for 4,000 bicycles we designed as a ‘plug-in’ for Amsterdam Central Station, a multi-modal transport hub, is making people’s journeys as simple and hassle free as possible. Furthermore, Bike Parking IJboulevard delivers new public space: bringing bicycles underground to free up space at street level whilst providing a new panoramic pedestrian boulevard on the river IJ. The unique underwater design provides a habitat for aquatic life to feed and shelter.

With IJboulevard, the design team of VenhoevenCS , Van Hattum en Blankevoort and DS Landscape architects, has created a new underwater bike parking facility in the heart of Amsterdam. The innovative project makes a significant contribution to the city, transforming the area to facilitate cyclists whilst providing new public space and improving the city’s infrastructure. Sited in a complex urban location next to Amsterdam Central Station – where trains, trams, buses, taxis, pedestrians and cyclists converge – and the river IJ, the underwater facility has space for over 4,000 bicycles.

Priority for bicycles and pedestrians
IJboulevard offers more public space for pedestrians around the busiest transportation hub in the city. The design includes 6,000 m2 of new public space above ground, created by storing bicycles underwater. The roof of the parking facility forms the new boulevard along the river IJ, creating a new walkway and gathering space for residents and visitors, with seating areas and views of the river IJ.

“IJboulevard builds on the VenhoevenCS tradition of turning functional infrastructural features into seductive spaces that contribute to urban culture.”
– Danny Esselman, VenhoevenCS architect IJboulevard


Structural and visual connection
The interior of IJboulevard features a design characterised by flowing lines and detailed rounded shapes, creating a warm and inviting aesthetic. The use of wooden walls, subtle lighting, and a calm color palette aid in clarity and orientation. The entrances are finished with the same dark gray natural stone as the boulevard, providing a seamless transition between the interior and exterior spaces. The stairwells with large glass surfaces allow natural daylight in and provide a view of the parking facility from the pedestrian boulevard. The well-lit, column-free design, long sightlines and prominent position of the manager’s office will contribute to a sense of safety for users.

Sustainable and nature inclusive
IJboulevard is a sustainable and eco-friendly design that integrates low-energy consumption, sustainable materials, and features that promote biodiversity. It also incorporates features that mimic natural habitats to promote biodiversity and support aquatic life. The design includes elements such as bio huts, wood, coconut mats, and porous concrete between the underwater pile supports to provide shelter and surfaces for aquatic plants to grow, with the aim of improving the overall health of the river.

IJboulevard film 2022:

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Name: Bike Parking IJboulevard
Location: De Ruijterkade, Amsterdam
Program: Bike parking for 4000 bicycles and public space
Surface area: 4270 m2
Assignment: Concept design, schematic design, design development
Period: 2019-2023
Status: Completed
Client: Van Hattum en Blankevoort, Municipality of Amsterdam
Awards: Nominated for BNA 'Building of the Year 2024' - Vote now! Schreuders Prize 2022 for Underground Construction - winner Dezeen Awards 2023 shortlisted Infrastructure and Transport project Architectenweb Awards 2023 shortlisted Public Building of the year Archello Awards 2023 Transportation Hub of the year - winner
Publications: Duurzaamheid leidend bij IJboulevard Poster Construction Infographics IJboulevard Azure Magazine ArchDaily ASCE FastCompany Het Parool BauNetz De Architect Architectenweb bba Building Design + Construction Architizer Archello Detail


VenhoevenCS: Danny Esselman, Max Fleer, Arjan Pot, Grzegorz Balinski, Julie Fuchs, Vincenzo Cantone
Landscape architect:DS Landschapsarchitecten
Main contractor:Van Hattum en Blankevoort
Structural engineer:VolkerWessels Infra Competence Centre
MEP:Homij Technische Installaties
Building physics:Buro Bouwfysica
Other:Gemeente Amsterdam, Ruimte en Duurzaamheid Afdeling Ontwerp Publieke Ruimte (street layout, public space), Royal Haskoning DHV (Wayfinding and pedestrian flow consultant)
Images: Ossip van Duivenbode (photography), Topview (aerial photo), b1 design (render)