London 2012 Olympic Velodrome

Over 18 months before the start of the games, London-based Hopkins architects have completed the '2012 Olympic Velodrome', making it the first venue to be officially handed over to the Olympic delivery authority.

The hyperbolic paraboloid-shaped steel-framed structure sits on a 360 degree glazed concourse at entry level, and is clad in timber with little apertures to allow for natural ventilation. The lightweight, double-curving, cable-net roof structure was designed to reflect the shape of the cycling track.

6,000 seats are located all the way around the track and are split into an upper and lower tier by the glazed concourse. 48,000 cubic metres of material was excavated to create the bowl in which the building sits. The London 2012 Velodrome will host the Olympic and Paralympic indoor cycling events and also includes changing rooms, retail facilities, workshop and a viewing concourse. 
The 6,000 seat Velodrome will host the Olympic and Paralympic track cycling events in 2012. After the Games, the legacy Velodrome will be used by elite athletes and the local community and will include a café, bike hire and cycle workshop facilities. The ODA started work on the Velodrome in March 2009 with construction now completed and the first Olympic Park venue in place nearly 18 months before the start of the Games. 
Cable-net roof structure weighs 30kg/m2 compared to 65kg/m2 for the Beijing Velodrome. The 6,000 seats are split into a lower and upper tier, allowing a 360 degrees concourse level in between with a continuous ribbon of full height windows offering views out across the rest of the Olympic Park and London skyline. The external sides of the Velodrome are clad in a striking Western Red Cedar timber to draw a parallel with the timber track inside the venue.


Velodrome design:

The Velodrome design team were chosen following a design competition in 2007. Shortlisted architects were assessed by a jury which featured leading names from the architectural world and Olympic Champion Chris Hoy. This ensured design excellence would site alongside the best possible facilities for cyclists.

The winning design team designed the Velodrome to be lightweight and efficient to reflect the efficient design of a bicycle. The distinct Velodrome roof has been designed to reflect the geometry of the cycling track, using a very lightweight double curving cable net structure.


Velodrome construction:

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) started construction work on the Velodrome in March 2009 – it was one of the last of the big 5 venues to start work but will be the first Olympic Park venue to be completed in early 2011. Some 48,000 cubic metres of material was excavated to create the bowl for the Velodrome, enough to fill 19 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

2,500 sections of steelwork were installed to form the Velodrome structure, rising in height by 12 metres from the shallowest point to the highest part of the structure. The cable-net roof lift took eight weeks to complete and features some 16km of cabling, covering an area of 12,000m2. The Velodrome is one of the most sustainable venues in the Olympic Park and the lightweight roof weighs roughly half that of any other covered Velodrome, helping create a highly-efficient building. The striking outer cladding of the venue uses 5,000m2 of Western Red Cedar timber.


Velodrome track:

The Velodrome has been designed with the aim of creating the world’s fastest cycling track by tailoring the track geometry and setting the temperature and environmental conditions within the venue to create record-breaking conditions. The venue has also been being designed with seating all the way round the track to create the best possible crowd atmosphere during events. Renowned track designer Ron Webb oversaw the design and installation of the 2012 track having previously worked on the Sydney and Athens Velodromes.

A team of 26 specialist carpenters installed the track over a period of 8 weeks. 56km of surface timber from a sustainably-sourced Siberian pine was laid to form the track surface, fixed into place with more than 300,000 nails.


Velodrome sustainability:

The building has been designed to be lightweight and efficient to reflect the efficient design of a bicycle. The use of abundant daylight through strategically positioned rooflights reduces need for artificial lighting, and natural ventilation is achieved through openings in the external timber cladding of the venue.

Heating and ventilation systems to meet cycling environmental requirements, allowing the highest performance by the elite cyclists, whilst maintaining high energy-efficiency. Compact design minimises energy consumed to heat the main arena.

Water saving fittings and collection of rainwater for reuse in building are built into design to help reduce water consumption. Lightweight cable-net roof structure weighs 30kg/m2 compared to 65kg/m2 for the Beijing Velodrome, helping create a highly efficient building.







15 photos

Building Activity

  • Rosen Zahariev
    Rosen Zahariev added a digital reference
    about 4 years ago via
  • Kiril Pavlov
    Kiril Pavlov updated
    about 4 years ago via
  • Luis Melgar
    Luis Melgar commented
    about 5 years ago via Mobile
  • Teodora Todorova
    Teodora Todorova updated 93 media and removed 4 media
    about 5 years ago via