August 12th, 2011
The distinctive ‘Pringle’ shaped velodrome was the first venue for the games to be completed. The structure has been award winning and widely praised for it’s architectural design and engineering. It was completed on time and too budget.
Hugh Pearman, architecture critic for the Sunday Times called the velodrome “one hell of a good building” in an extensive article in Sunday’s edition of the paper that heaped praise on the structure. “One thing is clear,” said Pearman, “of the permanent sporting venues the best is the velodrome… it is such a refreshingly good building.”
Barnshaws Structural Bending Division in the West Midlands Curved all the sections in the roof and wall on time and as always, to budget!
The velodrome’s shape looks like a giant Pringle crisp, and mimics the lines of the cycling track contained within it. The architect for the project was Mike Taylor of Hopkins Architects, and the pine track was designed by Ron Webb, also responsible for the Manchester and Newport velodromes.
Inside; the velodrome is naturally lit with a roof free from girders and supports providing a wide, uncluttered arena. A total of 16 kilometres of steel cable keep the roof securely in place.
Triple 2008 Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy had a say in its design, and there are numerous touches that only someone who truly understands track racing will have incorporated. For instance, there’s a dual heating system so that the track area is warmer than the ventilated 6,000 seat spectator area. Perfect for setting world-record-setting times whilst keeping the fans cool.
The track was built by a British firm, ISG , who also built the Manchester velodrome, which has been the training base for many of Britain’s medal-winning track riders.
“Our Velodrome plans are driven by legacy and we are aiming for this to not only be a venue where records are broken and the British gold-rush continues in 2012, but a breeding-ground for new generation of cyclists of all ages and abilities,” said Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee.
After the Games, the velodrome and BMX track will be joined by a road cycle circuit and mountain bike course to create a legacy VeloPark that will be unique in combining cycling facilities across all disciplines in one cycling ‘hub’.