HM of Cyclist House


Cyclist House


Stems – Cycles of decontamination from the roots up


Name: Estelle + Contant

Instagram: @estelle.contant

Nationality: Canadian (Quebec)

As gas stations withdraw from North American metropolitan centres, they leave behind contaminated soil and empty lots. These well-situated sites languish, unusable, waiting to be decontaminated. However, traditional decontamination is a long and expensive process, and as a result, these lots remain alienated from the communities they should serve, possibly for years. 

Stems is a transitory project that aims to create an urban cyclist hub in an existing vacant gas station, thereby revitalizing a forgotten parcel of land. On site, citizens will find a collective bike workshop in the kiosk. At the former fuel dispensers, they will have access to tire pumps and self-service repair tools. Transitory in nature, Stems follows the cycle of decontamination; when the space is needed for a new project, Stems will move to another abandoned gas station and set up shop there.

This project aims to start the decontamination process through phytoremediation: a technique that uses plants to extract pollutants from contaminated ground. It allows the ground to be purified while creating a welcoming environment for the cycling community and fighting against urban heat islands. By creating community value in a space throughout the process of decontamination, Stems proves that though all good things take time, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the ride. 

Jury Comments

  • Elina Kritikou | EKKY STUDIO

I really appreciated the idea of changing a gas station (a simple of contamination of the soil) into a green park for the cyclists to gather. Using the vegetation to help the soil recovery serves 100% this projects intention. Well done.

  • Patrick Meijers | Orange Architects

A simple but yet powerful idea to clean up the soil and host a bicycle community. The question if these abandoned petrol stations are to far from the urban areas and the roots of the plants go deep enough to clean the oil residues.


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