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The Willow Bike Sheds

Part 1 Project 2014
Miles Kelsey
Nottingham Trent University Nottingham UK
“There is a distinct boundary and relationship between water and land, through colour, texture, sound and many other elements. There are few instances when this boundary is successfully bridged, however riverbank vegetation, in particular Willow Trees manage to display how this barrier can be crossed and interacted with, to create a unique and romantic connection between two very different environments.”

Nottingham has great potential to create seamless connections to its rural surroundings due to its compact city structure. However, at present the area is not making the most of these opportunities. The River Trent lies just south of the city centre and inadvertently acts as a constraint and a barrier to the southern expanses of countryside and natural beauty. The Willow Bike Sheds aim to turn this constraint into an opportunity by distinctly highlighting the beauty between man-made and natural, built form and landscape, water and land.

Latching onto an area renown for water based activity and recreational use, The Willow Bike Sheds propose an intimate cycle centre and landscaped cycle route, uniquely placed on a linear strip of land within the river itself. Key links between the city centre and the countryside south of the River Trent are exposed to their fullest potential, allowing users to appreciate Nottingham’s ideal placement within the scenery of the Midlands.

A series of spaces including a café, hire centre, retail outlet, repair space and observation tower emerge out of a twisted, undulating cycle route, and act as checkpoints or pit stops to both cyclists and pedestrians. These built elements appear as lightweight permeable structures that extend the land on which they sit, challenging the boundary between land and water.

The aesthetic approach is inspired by the vegetation around the site and its influence on the relationship between these two elements. The plant life, in particular Willow Trees, that line the riverbanks act as bridging elements that compliment the relationship between water and land and it is this factor that is expanded upon, reproduced and explored through the design and delivery of The Willow Bike Sheds.

Miles Kelsey


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