First London Olympics Gold Medal Should Go to the Velodrome

velo building photo

Photo: with permission of ODA

The London 2012 Olympics are coming up pretty quickly. Tickets are on sale, the clock is ticking away (sometimes when it works) on Trafalgar Square and slowly buildings are being completed and unveiled.

The Gold Medal for first to finish, greenest, and most beautiful building has to go to the Velodrome, designed by Hopkins Architects. Take a peek.

interior velo photo

Photo: with permission of ODA

London's claim to fame for these games is that they will be the most sustainable ever and leave a legacy to the nation. The Velodrome is living up to that goal.

It was chosen from a number of competitors because of its sustainable and efficient design. The 6,000 seat building has a 250 metre UCI (International Cycling Union) approved indoor track and 400m BMX Olympic circuit. The two tiers of seating allow a 360 degree view of the track.

Construction work on the Velodrome started in March 2009 - it was one of the last of the big 5 venues to start work but is the first Olympic building to be completed on time and on budget.

exterior view photo

Photo: with permission of ODA

The outside is clad in 5,000 M2 of Western Red Cedar timber to draw a parallel with the timber track inside the venue. It is perforated to allow cooling of the interior. Strategically placed roof windows reduce the need for artificial lighting. Natural ventilation is achieved through openings in the external timber cladding of the venue resulting in substantial carbon emission reductions. Air flows across the 6,000 stands of seats and through the top, being replaced by cool, fresh air from below.

roof view photo

Photo: with permission of ODA

The striking white roof has rows of skylights crossing the complex, providing daylight and allowing overhead lights to be off during the daytime. It is made from a net of cables supported by the surrounding steel super structure and will deflect the summer sun during the games thus reducing the cooling needs. The roof collects rain water as well, which is stored for later use in the facility. The shape of the roof was created to reflect the geometry of the cycling track, using a very lightweight double curving cable net structure. It weighs half of the roof of the Beijing Velodrome.

interior view photo

Photo: with permission of ODA

The Velodrome track has been designed to be the world's fastest cycling by tailoring its geometry and setting the temperature and environmental conditions within to create record-breaking conditions. A team of 26 specialist carpenters installed it over an 8 week period. It is made of 56km of surface timber from sustainably-sourced Siberian pine, fixed into place with more than 300,000 nails. It was designed to evenly distribute noise from the cheering crowd to keep from distracting riders.

Water saving fittings and collection of rainwater for reuse in building are built into design to help reduce water consumption

After the Games, a road cycle circuit and mountain bike course and reconfigured BMX circuit will be added to the Velodrome to create the Lee Valley VeloPark, combining cycling facilities across all disciplines in one cycling 'hub'. It will be owned and operated by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.

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