The Olympic velodrome is an example of bio-architecture in London. It was built to host the Olympic Games of 2012 and its shape, with the roof that reaches its highest point at either end and sags in the middle, reminds us the shape of a potato chip. This is why Londoners call it “The Pringle”.
The velodrome was built following the principles of bio-architecture and several sustainable choices were made during its realization: from the sourcing of wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – an international, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests – used on the track and external cladding, to the installation of a 100 per cent naturally ventilated system that eliminates the need for air conditioning.
The structure was designed with simple, affordable materials. Only 100 tons of steel were used, a tiny sum if we consider the size of the structure.
The velodrome employs the use of daylight, natural cooling and water harvesting – all key features of green, energy-saving design.
The overall design of the venue makes optimal use of natural light, reducing the need for electric lighting and cutting energy consumption. The low roof also reduces the amount of heating needed while creating a great atmosphere for spectators.
The roof was specially designed so that it can collect rainwater, which is stored for later use within the facility; this operation reduces mains water usage by more than 70 per cent.
The cedar-clad “skin” of the Velodrome is perforated to allow for a convective cooling of the interior – thus air flows across the 6,000 seats and through the top of the building before being replaced by cool, fresh air from below. The Velodrome is 100 per cent naturally ventilated – no air conditioning is required.
Klaus Bode, one of the building’s environmental engineers, has said that the Velodrome is probably the most sustainable Olympic Park.