Going for green

The marathon that is venue design and construction for the London 2012 Olympics is nearing the finish line.  Not only is Expedition Engineering‘s and Hopkins Architects‘ collaboration on the Velodrome on track for a christmas completion, it is streaking ahead of the pack in the race for green.

Way back in 2005 London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games on the basis of the Olympic committee promising to make it the most sustainable games in the history of the event.  The reality of delivering on that promise has seen different extents of success but one venue that really is being inundated with accolades for setting new standards in sustainable design is the Velodrome.

From the outset the design team worked closely together, taking a holistic approach to create a stadium whose elegance is born from form following function.  This means that all the man hours spent playing with the structural geometry to find the most efficient shape for the Velodrome really helped in the quest to cut the carbon.  Having spent the last few months assessing the amount of embodied carbon associated with the velodromes construction, I am delighted to report that the London Velodrome contains ten times less embodied carbon than Beijing’s 2008 Velodrome and an estimated eight times less embodied carbon than the Zaha Hadid and Arup designed Aquatics centre.  The Velodrome is talking in terms of hundreds of tonnes of embodied carbon rather than thousands!  Furthermore, the design team are being proactive about publishing the results as part of a report detailing how the entire industry can learn from their experiences.

The Velodrome really is one of London 2012’s success stories and widespread adoption of the design philosophies it employs will be instrumental in helping the UK construction industry, which is responsible for almost 10% of the UK’s carbon emissions, meet the ambitious government targets for reducing carbon use by a massive 80% (compared to 2008 figures) by 2050.  Maybe the race isn’t quite finished but I know lots of people who believe, where the Velodrome is concerned, that green medal is fully deserved!


Expedition are giving a talk about designing the Velodrome on the evening of Thursday 28th October.  Please see the attached flyer for details:

Designing for a 3-D world


About @ngela

Unexpected Consequences is a blog by Angela Crowther, a young engineer working in the Built Environment. Currently supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering and UKRC's Ingenious program the blog’s aim is to raise awareness of all the exciting opportunities the world of engineering has to offer to hopefully stimulate others into joining the industry.
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5 Responses to Going for green

  1. geekchloe says:

    Hi Angela,

    What an exciting, inspiring project to be a part of – I’d love to see some more photos. ‘Form following function’ is such a brilliant design philosophy, it tends to lead to such beautiful, effective, and potentially very ‘green’ buildings – they also tend to be alot easier for people to use too. I shall keep my fingers crossed that I’m lucky enough to be able to attend some of the Olympics…especially any events at the Velodrome.


    • @ngela says:

      Hi Chloe,

      It really is a fantastic, thought provoking project, and so tantalisingly close to completion… I think even the non-cyclists in the office are converted fans since the Velodrome project arrived and we all hope to be in the bleachers cheering TeamGB along! After all, not only is a bicycle a sustainable form of transport, its form is incredibly efficient – one of the project inspirations! Hopefully see you there 🙂

  2. Jan Peters says:

    Fab stuff Angela! I sadly won’t make the 28th event 😦

    I was speaking at the DiverseCity event last week – which brought together engineers and architects for a really insightful and inspiring event. WES is looking to do much more in partnership with RIBA and are planning a Christmas event guess what? for later this year. If you get to anywhere near Cardiff we have an event on 4 November at the Senedd and on 19 and 20 November we shall be in Sheffield and aiming to fill teh Cutlers Hall with inspiring women so do spread the word and we’ll be happy to spread yours too! Lots of opportunity to connect and inpsire.


    Keep on blogging it’s great to hear what you are up to.

  3. @ngela says:

    Hi Jan,

    Great to hear from you and more of what you have been up to! Please do keep me up to date with the christmas event you are planning – I’d love to get involved!

    Also, glad to hear you have plenty of events happening all over the UK. It’s great to hear that it’s not only in London, although the fact that it’s not unfortunately counts me out this time. As for the evening talk about the tools we use at Expedition to design projects like the velodrome, I’ve now blogged about it:


    Best wishes

  4. Pingback: How many hamsters does it take to power New York City? | Unexpected Consequences

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