663 – VELODROME AT HEUSDEN-ZOLDER

Former motor racing circuit land, corner of Kerkstraat and Herderspad, 3550 Heusden-Zolder, Belgium
50°99’31’’N / 5°26’57’’E
Building:  18,840 m²; 2018-2019; (01/663).
“Design, Build and Maintenance” competition by invitation on behalf of Stadsbader nv.

Service Performed
  • Urban planning
  • Site history
  • Microclimate (with Von Karman Instituut)
  • Hydrogeology
  • Architecture
  • Interior design
  • Garden and landscape architecture
  • Structural design (with Greisch)
  • Building services engineering (with Istema)
  • Building physics, EPB (with Istema)
  • Air quality
  • Natural lighting
  • Acoustics (with A-Tech)
  • Security (with Robrechts & Thienpont)
  • Inclusive accessibility (with Plain-Pied)
  • Fire safety (with DGMR)
  • Sport surfaces (with Georges Soleil) and cycling track (with track architect Peter Junek)
  • Signage
Description

Principal’s requirements

Vzw Sportcomplex Flanders Zolder (a consortium of the municipality of Heusden-Zolder, vzw Cycling Friends, and vzw Terlamen) is acting as project owner and has launched a “Design Build Maintenance” competition to develop sporting infrastructure for track cycling at the highest level, to which international teams will come to Belgium to train, and which can also be used for world-class competitions. The infrastructure must excel in terms of the technical qualities to maximise speeds for track cycling. This must further be completed within the tightest possible schedule (target date for provisional acceptance has been set at 2021-07-01). In the track centre, courts should be set up for basketball, futsal, volleyball, badminton, each to a standard approved by the relevant federations.

Intensive daily use is expected (4000 hours/year = 11 hours/day) and it is requested that it should not affect the operation of the Zolder motor racing circuit, so that the existing medical centre should remain in operation until the newly medical centre is completed. The emergency entrance and exit from the circuit must always remain unobstructed.

The schedule also sets out three required options: a bare shell fitness space (135 persons), an equipped gym hall (70 persons), and a bare shell space for a performance laboratory (elite sport education, training and coaching).

 

The location

The outstanding and easily accessible location of the Zolder racing circuit, its name recognition and the infrastructure already in place for major sporting events in a stunning green setting makes the municipality the ideal location for this sustainable sporting project. It should be noted that world cycling championships were held here in 1969 and 2002.

 

The response

The site is very tight when it comes to positioning the structure, particularly the velodrome. This is made still more difficult as the existing medical centre for Zolder circuit has to remain in operation until the works have been completed.

The project is designed such that no space looks onto the Zolder circuit and with buildings fully accessible to people with disabilities.

The minimum width of the velodrome is determined both by the track geometry (with an internal lap distance of 250 m) and the width required for space for normal and emergency access allowing people to move freely around.

It is therefore proposed that the different structural volumes should be distributed:

1) The ellipsoidal velodrome, on the west of the site. A large roof volume is beneficial for all sports which involve an element of height and to improve the experience (for both spectators and athletes). The stands are set up around the track perimeter. The track centre is reached though two main staircases and two ramps.

Beneath this are located 270 bike lockers around and beneath the track centre, the cycle storage space, a cycle workshop, meeting rooms, two changing rooms, the technical spaces, the general work spaces, staff rooms and all store rooms.

At the lowest level there is access for goods vehicles from the service yard on the west side.

2) The main parallelipipedal building (with the fitness space, the gym hall and the performance lab) to the northeast of the velodrome. A mezzanine houses a VIP space. An additional event space is located below the main staircase, directly linked with the track centre.

3) The cafeteria with a direct view over the track and the gym. An external terrace adorns the centre of the cafeteria.

4) The glazed volume of the main entrance with the stairs and the lift to the south of the main building and a large media wall on the eastern facade.

5) The round car park with a capacity of 200 places intended for VIPs, staff and 130 bicycles and 50 motorcycles. The car park takes the form of concentric circles with green hedges and high-growing trees.

6) The main pedestrian entrances to the south, with kiss & ride, and to the east.

7) The parking for cycles and motorcycles, located externally (unsupervised parking) and internally (with social control), beside the cafeteria on the first level, with a capacity of 60 bikes.

8) A service road and service yard on the west of the site.

The ground floor height is determined so as to avoid any addition of or removal of soil.

A large ecological pond to the south of the velodrome reflects its image. It incorporates a lower cleaning bed and a higher section used to manage rainwater.

 

The ellipsoid

The ellipsoidal structural framework (82 m by 114 m, with a height of 10 m centrally under the arches) is very lighter and stiffer than any bending structure and allows the use of materials with high permissible stresses. The ellipsoidal form of the velodrome thus offers not just a very large and comfortable space, but also a very efficient lightweight structure. The whole is covered by a vapour barrier, EPB-compliant thermal rockwool insulation and a roof membrane in EPDM.

To optimise views of the racing, the seating is installed on parallel circles over the basic oval, at the height of the track straights. This offers smooth access to seating from the upper gallery, and safe and fast evacuation via the same upper gallery and via the lower entrance intended for the cameras. This compact geometry offers space for 2,125 spectators.

The stands themselves are in prefabricated concrete and the track in 5 cm thick prefabricated pine.

 

Energy, light and air, water

The ellipsoidal velodrome roof admits daylight through a long skylight covering 270 m². This skylight also serves for smoke evacuation and for natural ventilation to allow hot air to escape from the upper parts of the hall in summer.

Below this skylight a reflector is installed: a hanging sail with an aluminium mirror on the upper surface and a white underside.  This sail works as a reflector to redirect daylight across the domed roof and also completely prevents direct sunlight which could cause dazzle. A sound-absorbent material is applied on its underside. The light fittings mounted on its edges provide dazzle-free lighting at night.

An open geothermal installation with heat pump and linked with floor heating (and cooling) in the track centre guarantees thermal comfort. For larger events additional heating (or cooling) is provided by air handling units which draw in air without draughts and at low speed below the spectator seating, and with displacement ventilation.

Photovoltaic panels are fitted on the roof and walls of the main parallelipipedal building.

The water management design is based on the principle of a water-neutral solution, achieved by purifying water on site. Effluent from the septic tank is piped to a reed bed. The reed bed provides natural water purification. Rainwater is collected in the large pond.

Location
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663 - VELODROME AT HEUSDEN-ZOLDERsamyn