As London gets ready to host the Olympics this summer, one of its newest buildings is receiving accolades for its green features. The Velodrome, which will host track cycling events, was recognized by RIBA, received the Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award and listed on CNN’s list of The Greenest Buildings of 2011. Designed by Hopkins Architects, the 6,000 seat Velodrome is one of the most sustainable buildings in the Olympic Park, and will be open for the local cycling community to enjoy once the Games are over. Not only is it the greenest, but it’s one of the few venues constructed that was completed to budget.
Sustainable features include:
- Siberian pine track and cladding from Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood
- Natural ventilation reduces need for air conditioning, while keeping the track level of the facility comfortable for competitors
- Maximized use of natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting
Oh, plus it’s touted as one of the fastest tracks in the world. Green and speedy—not too shabby.
The Velodrome is designed with cyclists in mind and intended to position London the cycling capital of the world, featuring a one mile road cycle circuit , BMX track and a mountain bike course (Now if only they could make navigation around the country a bit easier, says the American). VeloPark, as it will be known, will provide a safe place for cyclists of all types to train, improve their skills and have fun. In addition to a sustainable cycling facility, London also touts a innovative bike rental program with nearly 6,000 bikes available for hire.
Although Mayor Boris Johnson has tried to incite a cycling revolution over the last few years, change takes time. Like many cities, traffic in London is hell and owning a car in the UK is expensive. The Mayor seeks to dramatically increase the number of people who commute in London by bicycle. While the jury is out on the program’s success so far, we can agree on the physical, psychological and time benefits of cycling–in short, it keeps you thin, sane and will get you most places quicker than that 2000 pound depreciating hunk of plastic and metal you’re driving around.
As a cyclist, I’m stoked that the Velodrome is green and a bitchen place to bike. Perhaps I’ll schlep my Giant over to the UK on my next visit and give the one mile road cycle circuit a whirl…assuming I’ve mastered clipless pedals by then, but that’s another story.