On track for success

James
Thursday 28 Jun 2012

Hopkins' completed Velodrome offers a world-class cycling venue for the London 2012 Olympics

The bicycle is an ingenious ergonomic and aerodynamic object which is honed to unrivalled efficiency. Hopkins wanted to apply the same design creativity and engineering rigour that this embodies to our building as a three-dimensional response to the functional requirements of a stadium. The resulting Velodrome contains 6,000 seats in both Olympic and Legacy modes and responds to both contexts in an appropriate manner with minimal transformation.

The upper and lower seating tiers are split by the public circulation concourse which forms the main point of entry into the arena and allows spectators to maintain contact with the action on the track as they move around the building. The concourse is fully glazed to allow views both into and out of the building. It also helps to visually separate the Western Red Cedar clad upper bowl from the ground floor back of house accommodation which is largely hidden behind the landscaped earth berms that form a visual plinth at the east and west ends of the building.

The Olympic Delivery Authority set a number of sustainability and material targets; through careful consideration and integration of the architecture, structure and building services the design has met or exceeded these requirements. As a result of the use of the structurally efficient cable net roof structure it has been calculated that approximately 1,000 tonnes of steel have been saved compared to a more standard form of roof.

Rather than investing in PVs on or other ‘bolt-on’ technologies on the roof, designing for maximum daylight penetration proved to be a much more economical solution which yielded far greater benefits in terms of reducing carbon emissions. The main arena itself is highly-insulated and completely naturally ventilated in mid-season and summer, significantly reducing energy demand. Finally, recycled rainwater is used to supply the WC/Urinal flushing and any wash down points and the building is predicted to achieve an annual reduction of 75% in potable water demand.

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