The Bicycle Rack Reimagined
By William Lamb / Published by Dwell
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In Philadelphia, a competition challenges designers to rethink the bicycle rack.

At Philadelphia’s City Hall, ten creative bicycle racks are on display as part of a larger exhibition of bicycle-related art. The ten racks were chosen from among more than 150 submitted as part of a design competition sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia in conjunction with the Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy (OACCE).

The Koi bicycle rack, designed by Juliet Whelan of Philadelphia's Jibe Design Architecture. Photo by Kristen Zubrisky Photography.

“The goal of the competition was to improve our streetscapes by adding public art that doubles as functional bicycle racks,” says Nicholas Mirra, a spokesman for the bicycle coalition. “Philadelphia is a bicycling city, with the highest rate of bicycle commuting among the ten biggest U.S. cities. Especially in Center City, there is not enough bike parking to meet the demand. In parallel with that, Philadelphia is a great city for art. … Reimagining the ordinary, utilitarian bicycle rack as a work of sculpture that reflects or comments on its surroundings was an endeavor that appealed both to OACCE and ourselves.”

"Spiral" by Collin Robinson. Photo by Blake Larson, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

The racks will be installed on sidewalks in and around Center City this summer, Mirra says. The competition was funded by a matching grant from the Knight Foundation as part of its Knight Arts Challenge.

"Bicycle Rack" by Warren Holzman and Iron Studio. Photo by Blake Larson, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Click through the slideshow to see more of the winning submissions.

"Partially Sunny" by Carin Mincemoyer. Photo by Blake Larson, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

"Bike Cloud" by Ralph Tullie. Photo by Blake Larson, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

"Pretzel" by Peter Everett Brown and Barbara Sprague of BrownSprague LLC. Photo by Blake Larson, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

"Philadelphia Bike Terminal" by Nathaniel Ross. Photo by Blake Larson, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Another view of "Koi" by Juliet Whelan. The rack, made from laser-cut stainless steel, was inspired by "the lazy fluidity of koi in a pond," Whelan says. Photo by Kristen Zubrisky Photography

William Lamb

@williamlamb

Will Lamb is a writer and editor based in Jersey City, New Jersey. He served as a senior editor at Dwell from 2013 to 2015.

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