The new Cycling and Athletics Arena is located in a diversely built area in Odense, Denmark’s third-largest city. The building is sunken into the topography of the site, keeping its visual impact on the immediate surroundings to a minimum. Within this context, the new 7.200 square meter velodrome asserts its presence with clear geometric form; an accessible racing track designed to high international standards.
Mikkelsen Architects was responsible for all project stages, and all services including preliminary studies and planning, drawings, specifications, and technical documentation relating to Schematic Design, Design Development, and to Construction Documents and Tender. Contract administration, monitoring of construction, and project management.
Many arenas have no daylight and allow little interaction with the outside world, as they also use a lot of energy for artificial lighting and the keeping of a constant temperature. By suggesting a lightweight membrane structure, Mikkelsen has designed a less expensive solution allowing daylight to filter into the space – giving an informal atmosphere. The space is not heated but allowing radiant heating to compensate for low temperatures.
The building is designed from the geometric form of doughnut and optimized to handle snow loads, condensation, and wind issues. Changing temperatures over the day and season was handled by acceptance and cutting away extremes. This led to a trough lightweight experience where the language of the details is fundamental and becomes key to the architectural understanding. The project’s tight economic framework, in conjunction with an integrated design process, has given a clear impetus for the shaping process. Through the research of the athletes' usage patterns and micro-climatic requirements, it was clear at a very early stage that a lightweight membrane solution would be the way forward.
This type of construction has great potential. Lightweight membranes have a low weight and minimized material consumption, which ultimately reduces costs and environmental impacts of the total construction compared to other alternatives. The bright and translucent nature of the membrane allows daylight to filter through without dazzling the athletes. The clear constructive advantages of the arena’s long spans (18m at its widest) are experienced as a super lightweight and bright backdrop for the physical activity of cycling and athletics.