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sydney olympic games 2000          

Olympic Velodrome
Homebush Bay Complex

Olympic Velodrome : Ryder Associates Architects


Ryder Associates Architects
Ann Burlon
Lucas Crabtree
Garth Davies
Sally Fleinert
Michael Flynn
Paula Valsamis
Richard Dinham
Carlus Buckley
Vivien Eardley
Kim Jones
Brad Sonter
Paul Ryder

After 8 years of involvement by the team, the Olympic Velodrome is now finished.  Now known as the Dunc Grey Velodrome it is in daily use by club and school track cycling squads in between hosting visits from track stars from around the world gaining local knowledge in preparation for the 2000 Olympic Games.

  In December 1999 the Oceania International Cycling Grand Prix meet took place at the Velodrome.  Competitors from UK, USA< Russia, Italy, France, Germany, NZ and others mixed it with Australia�s best track cyclists over 6 days of world class racing.  Among the medal winners were Gary Niewand, Brad McGee, Michelle Ferris and Sean Eadie (AUS), Amaud Tournant, Vincent Le Quellec (FRA).  Tania Dubnicoff (CAN), Anthony Peden (NZL), James Carney and Tania Lindenmouth (USA).

  The design of the Velodrome evolved from the winning entry in the Sydney 2000 Bid Velodrome Architectural Competition won by Paula Valsamis and Paul Ryder in 1992.  The design has been progressively developed culminating in the final scheme prepared for the Olympic Coordination Authority in 1997.  RyderSJPH Architects  (a joint venture group between Ryder Associates Architects and SJPH DesignInc) completed the detailed design in 1998. 

Construction commenced in August 1998 and was substantially complete in December 1999.  The Velodrome is a very large structure completely enclosing the 250m timber cycling track, 3000 spectator seats with additional room for 3000 more.  With roof spans of 110m and 150m, it is the biggest single span fully covered structure in Australia.  Having no centre supports, the roof weighs in at 40Kg per sq. m. making it one of the most efficient large span structures built anywhere recently.

The elegant engineering solution chosen for the Velodrome roof is a single layer steel shell, the largest such structure built anywhere to date. The geometrical basis for the shell is the torus enabling the structure to be described by arcs of the circle, all of identical radius This enabled the shell to be accurately prefabricated 60OKm away from the site at the NSW country town of Young.

METROPOLIS, New York's respected journal of architecture, art and design judged Ryder's Olympic Velodrome like this :  " a shimmering architectural vision that mirrors the cyclist's magic: suspension maintained at speed. It is a fine and memorable structure meant too be understood both as a sculptural from and as a useful building. "

Despite early misgivings the architects pursued a roof design manufactured from fully curved components in place of the more commonly used straight ones. This included all the roof main steel and substructure, together with the BHP roof decking which is tapered to match the toroidal geometry. The resultant smoothly curved roof contains few joints or other discontinuities

The Velodrome is a model of sustainable architectural design, conforming to a set of principals designed to reduce dependency on electrical energy based systems such as artificial lighting and air‑conditioning with a consequent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as well as cost. The innovative natural ventilation system draws cool air into the building beneath the spectator seats using a buoyancy driven heat stack to drive air movement. This ensures spectator comfort.

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