The 6000-seat Velodrome was the first major venue to be completed at the Olympic Park in London for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The permanent venue was completed ahead of programme and to budget by contractor ISG for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). FDL carried out the Groundworks, Concrete Formwork, and External Works packages on both the Velodrome and the adjacent BMX Track.

The dramatic structure features a 12,000m2 double-curvature cable-net roof, red cedar external wall cladding and a 250m International Cycling Union approved cycling track made from 56km of sustainably sourced Siberian pine. After the Games the Olympic BMX circuit was retained and reconfigured to accommodate all levels of ability and a 1.6km road cycle circuit and 7km of mountain bike trails are added to form the Lee Valley VeloPark.

The design team of Hopkins Architects, Expedition Engineering and service engineer BDSP also sought to minimise the amount of construction material used through a detailed value engineering exercise. This resulted in contractor ISG developing a lightweight 30kg/m2 cable-net system, which saved 1000t of steelwork and reduced the size and depth of foundations, by including low carbon GGBS concrete mixes, which were seldom used in 2009, unlike today where GGBS concrete mixes are the norm, FDL have been at the forefront of sustainable construction methods for decades.

A key challenge of this scheme for us was to deliver the signature architects’ “Hopkins”, aspiration to achieve patterned fair face soffits and walls. We constructed parabolic curved formwork to create the competitors’ access / egress into the venue, and the lower and upper concourse slabs. In order to achieve the design requirements, we undertook a series of mock-ups at our in house facility so that concrete mixes and formwork systems were agreed in advance of construction starting on site. We worked alongside the main contractor ISG and their Design Manager to ensure the vision was achieved. The building was nominated for the prestigious 2011 RIBA Sterling prize.

The Velodrome is the most energy-efficient venue in the Olympic Park, achieving a 31% improvement over 2006 Building Regulations part L requirements. The compact design minimises heated air volume and extensive use is made of natural ventilation and lighting. Potable water demand has been reduced by 73% installing rainwater harvesting and low-water sanitary ware.