An in-depth look at the sustainable design of London’s 2012 cycling venue.
As cycling is a sport that hinges on tension, ergonomics and optimization through the design of it machinery, these principle have also informed the structure of London’s 2012 Velodrome. As one of only four permanent structures built for the 2012 Olympics, the team at Hopkin’s Architects worked scrupulously to communicate through design, the same efficiency propelling cyclists toward Olympic gold.
At every stage, the architects chose efficiency over exuberance, embracing the limitations posed by nature with the aim of overcoming them in the end. A steel cable-net is strung out over the roof to reduce the amount of material required to build it and ended up decreasing construction time by 20 weeks.
The installation of a 100% naturally ventilated system allows for natural light while simultaneously eliminating the need for air conditioning. The structure’s roof captures rainwater and reduces main water usage by 70%. For the track and exterior, the team went about sourcing Siberian pine and western red cedar for the external cladding, all of which is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Described by its architects:
Cycling inspired the concept for the Velodrome. The bicycle is an ingenious ergonomic object that is honed to unrivalled efficiency. We wanted the same application of design creativity and engineering rigour that goes into the design and manufacture of a bicycle to manifest itself in the building; not as a mimicry of the bicycle but as a three-dimensional response to the functional requirements of the venue whose distinctive form has emerged from an integrated design team approach which focused on the performance and efficiency of every aspect of the building.
Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy worked in consultation to configure the track geometry, temperature and environmental conditions to create an optimal setting. Visitors are said to maintain contact with the track as they circle the building interior; a 6,000 foot stadium with little need for transformation to switch between events. Spectators seated in upper level of the two tier structure will be afforded a 360 degree view of the surrounding Olympic Park.
See images of the innovative design below.