Pedal power … one of the proposed designs for the Taylor Square cycling hub, produced by final year interior architecture students at the University of NSW and now on exhibition at the university.

THE first visions for the proposed Taylor Square cycling hub have been dreamed up by students at the University of NSW, but the completed facility is still years away.

A ride-up cafe bar, vertical bike storage, cycle tours and a bike museum as well as sales, repair and hire facilities featured in various designs by final year interior architecture students.

The City of Sydney plans to convert the one-time pub, nightclub and bank branch on Flinders Street, next to the Bourke Street cycleway, into the centrepiece of its $76 million cycleways network.

An exhibition of the best ideas for the facility by the students opened last night at UNSW’s Built Environment faculty.

”The building is as much about the promotion of cycling as a functional building for bike hire and for sales,” said Dr Russell Rodrigo, whose students each spent 12 weeks working on their ideas. ”It’s a very challenging building to work with because it has multiple entries at different levels, and it’s difficult to understand spatially.

”The important thing is that students are involved in a real-word design problem and they get to engage with … a project that’s very central to the future of Sydney,” he said.

The City of Sydney purchased the building destined to be the cycling hub, the Taylor Square Hotel, a notoriously violent venue, in January last year for a reported $5.5 million with a view to diversifying the area to ease problems associated with late-night alcohol use.

The City’s Director of Planning, Graham Jahn, said the council has signed a memorandum of understanding with the faculty to provide opportunities for students to work on real-world design problems.

”We’re happy to provide plans, to look at what they’ve done and provide some feedback,” Mr Jahn said.

City planners are preparing a scoping document for the future cycling hub. ”It’s just a question of what ‘cycle hub’ means exactly in terms of workshops and tours and a cafe and rental and all those things.”