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London Olympic Velodrome by Hopkins Architects

The elegant and dynamic form of the Velodrome was the first stadium to be completed in Stratford’s Olympic Village. It has since won awards for its design and sustainability, the latter in particular is something designers Hopkins Architects are very proud of.

The venue cleverly makes use of natural light in the form of a glass band that runs around the entire building connecting the athletes inside to the visitors in the Olympic Park outside. The same glass band ‘props up’ the beautiful curved facade of the building, clad in Western red cedar. The architects claim sustainability over beauty, was the driving factor in their design. But for me the timber clad facade is a sculptural masterpiece.

Further sustainable feats of engineering continue inside the building. Vents follow the organic curve of the external facade allowing natural ventilation to the inside of the building, negating the need for air-conditioning and increasing efficiency whilst reducing running costs. The roof collects rainwater for recycling and the low suspended section reduces the amount of heating needed, further reducing the amount of carbon within the building.

Whilst the sustainability measures designed in to the building are impressive, it is the inspiration behind the design process that is exciting. The purpose of the building, is what truly drives its design. The central core and track itself were the starting point for the design, built from a minimal amount of materials to really respond to the cyclists requirement.

Sir Chris Hoy had particular design input in this instance, suggesting the location of industrial air curtains to reduce cold air from the natural ventilation to keep cyclists hot, which is one of the conditions they require in a velodrome. Whilst importantly locating the 6000 seats for spectators right above the track, closer than many velodromes, creating an electric atmosphere..

The buildings design has placed the utmost important on the people that use it whilst exuding graceful dynamism. The exterior alone certainly puts this stadium above the beautiful London Aquatics Centre in my opinion. Just.

Images, with thanks, via Blueprint Magazine, The Telegraph, Hopkins Architects and University of Bath