Velodromes usually contain a bewildering route of ramps and unpleasant tunnels to get beyond the cycle track to an under-utilised central infield. The central infield is a fantastic resource for activities when not being used for cycling events. Therefore the challenge is to make these buildings more operationally flexible through improved accessibility and multi-use. At Derby Arena, FaulknerBrowns Architects responded to this challenge by innovatively raising the 250m cycle track to first floor allowing unimpeded access below to the central infield. This simple move provides the opportunity to increase functionality, accessibility and the operational sustainability of the facility. The infield space has been optimised to provide a 12 badminton court sports hall with unimpeded visual and physical access, allowing extensive event overlay potential – a truly multi-sport and event arena. Efficiency forms a key element of the design philosophy at Derby Arena, where layout and form tightly shrink-wrap the cycle track. Support accommodation of café foyer, fitness suite, and multi-function spaces are stacked to one side and the spectator grandstand opposite, with the 2000sqm of available space below the lifted cycle track fully utilised for changing rooms and storage. This allows the facility to support events of up to 5,000 capacity (1,500 permanent spectator seats and up to 3,500 standing in the infield in a concert scenario) whilst providing spaces with a strong visual, social and physical interaction and a vastly reduced building footprint. Internally the design is bold, bright and simple; deliberately starting subdued before bursting into the vibrant ‘wow-factor’ of the arena space. Externally, the themes of the building are expressed by ‘lifting’ a ribbon of cladding at the front and rear to allow the central infield to be seen through the entrance and for access to be created for fast set-up and servicing of the arena from the rear. Despite the dynamic curving and sloping form of the elevation it has a consistent height as it ebbs-and-flows around the perimeter, this has allowed a horizontal aluminium long sheet ‘shingle’ cladding to be used. Anodised in gold, silver and bronze the exterior represents sporting success and an ever-changing visual appearance echoes the movement and appearance of the cycle track inside. The ribbon form has then been dramatically peeled to create ‘eye-lid’ windows to the track and fitness gym. The sinuous form, which belies the scale of the space within, is underpinned by simple geometry. The roof is curved as an arch in one direction with a horizontal crest supported by simple efficient 5m steel trusses at regular 6.5m intervals. Derby Arena is a ground breaking dry sports facility which sets new standards for efficient, multi-use and flexible sustainable velodrome design.
The 8,200 square metre standing seam roof to the Derby Multi-Sports Arena was supplied by BEMO Project Engineering UK Ltd, and installed by one of BEMO’s key partners Keyclad Ltd. BEMO’s BBA Approved N65/400 profile was specified thanks to BEMO’s expertise in on site manufacture – the ability to roll the standing seam sheets at eaves level ensured that there was no need for end laps over the 70 metre roof length. BEMO were tasked with ensuring that the roof construction achieved the stringent acoustic and thermal requirements; in order to provide evidence of the performance BEMO provided project specific acoustic testing and thermal calculations. BEMO also provided a full suite of structural calculations and fixed point design to ensure that the roof was engineered to the highest standard. The supply of the full envelope, including liner profile and support system, ensured that BEMO could offer a full envelope guarantee. The engineering services offered by BEMO on all major projects ensure that the highest quality product and design can be offered; critical elements in standing seam roof design such as halter set-out and control of thermal movement are considered, while regular site inspections are carried out to ensure full client support.