Courtesy Hopkins Architects Partnership LLP

The architects used design software to build an incredibly light velodrome

With the 2012 London Olympic Games set to launch in just under eight months, construction on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is drawing to a close. Surprisingly, nearly all of the main venues were completed on time earlier in the year, and some were even finished on budget–a rarity in the business of making object buildings. Up until an extensive two-year long planting program was recently concluded this past month–qualifying the Olympic campus as the U.K.’s largest urban park–many of the finished buildings, including Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Center and the temporary basketball arena, sat like beached whales stranded amid a muddy landscape strewn with rogue streaks of turf hills. The London Velodrome, whose Pringle-like profile evokes a simplicity altogether foreign to the fractured and fluid solipsistic forms such events tend to inspire, is perched gracefully on one such knoll, encircled by a groved lip of plantings.

The double-curved roof takes cues from the dynamism of the cycling event which it will house, mimicking the bulge and dip of the racetrack to great effect. The supple sway of the roofline is complement by the facade’s lush wooden cladding, which will acquire a silvery sheen over time. Inside, a vast assemblage of trusses connect to a ring beam that suspends the 130-meter cable net structure spanning overhead. All told, the steel amounts to a 100 tons, a lean figure compared to the 3,000 tons needed to build Hadid’s similarly-sized Aquatics Center. That minimal engineering coupled is part of an “integrated holistic design” that has made the London Velodrome the Olympic Park’s most sustainable structure, says Klaus Bode, one of the project’s environmental engineers. By exploiting building technology software throughout the design process, the architects and engineers were able to optimize the stadium’s performance without recourse to add-ons like wind turbines or photovoltaics.

Video via crane.tv.

This article originally appeared at Architizer.com, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a rendering of the moon village with a view of Earth
    Design

    Designing the First Full-Time Human Habitat on the Moon

    SOM, in partnership with the ESA and MIT, wants to accommodate research and maybe even tourism on the moon.

  2. Design

    The Many Lives of Notre-Dame

    Far from being a single author’s definitive text, the beloved cathedral’s history is a palimpsest.

  3. a photo of San Francisco tourists posing before the city's iconic skyline.
    Life

    Cities Don’t Have Souls. Why Do We Battle For Them?

    What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change.

  4. A man checks a route on his phone while in a car.
    Equity

    Conversations With D.C. Uber Drivers Reveal Stress and Debt

    A new report from Georgetown University reveals wage and other challenges faced by Uber drivers in Washington, D.C., yet many say they plan to keep driving.

  5. Equity

    How AI Could Slow the Spread of HIV

    A pilot program in Los Angeles is testing a more scientific way to reach “influencers” who persuade and educate their peers.