Herne Hill Velodrome

Structural Designer

Heyne Tillett Steel

Client Name

Herne Hill Velodrome Trust


London, United Kingdom


Conamar Building Services

Hopkins Architects

Hess Timber

J&J Carter Images: © Simon Kennedy


An engineered timber pavilion built in 1891 for cycling events at the 1948 Olympics, Herne Hill Velodrome in south London had fallen into disrepair. The new timber structure, similar in scale to its predecessor, houses changing rooms, general amenities, coaches’ office, and a generously sized club room overlooking the entire site at first floor. Behind the pavilion a tensile fabric canopy between the bike storage units creates a versatile year-round covered space for outdoor activities.

Judge's comment:

This building is on the site of the previous venue for cycling events at the Olympics and has succeeded in providing a modern engineered timber pavilion, which makes use of some of the elements of the original 1891 building; such as the cast iron posts, which support the primary 600mm-deep European whitewood glulam timber beams. These primary beams were curved in the factory to form the pavilion’s distinctive and highly aesthetic roof profile. The detailing demonstrates visual elegance. The attention to detail, such as the tapered beams above the outside seating area, align to the internal moment envelope, as well as reducing the perceived depth of the roof at the line of sight and contribute to the elegance of the overall design solution. The structural solutions in this building also implement sustainable techniques and technologies, as demonstrated by the specification of materials including spruce CLT floor and panels ceiling units spanning between the beams. The prefabricated nature of the system aligns to minimising construction waste and the recycling and reuse of the cast iron gives further carbon reductions compared to new build. Another added value is rehabilitating the UK’s oldest velodrome, the home of track cycling in London for over 120 years and the only remaining venue still in operation from the 1948 Olympic Games, which is a tribute to our structural engineering heritage.

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