Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Pringle – that is the Olympic Velodrome ...

If it was a Pringle crisp it would have shattered into a million little cascades of potato flakes by now ... the Velodrome, nicknamed the Pringle, has been raising the roof at the Olympics – for all the right British reasons ... we’re happy we’ll accept the Pringle name for our Velodrome!

Cedar cladding on outside of Velodrome

I sometimes wonder why I start writing posts as I find out so much  ‘useless’ information I am amazed at myself ... so here we go once again!

That Pringle chip or crisp as we know them

The back story can be found in Wikipedia – but the consistent saddle shape is mathematically known as a hyperbolic paraboloid .... and they were originally known as “Pringles Newfangled Potato Chips” ... there’s a saga here – so again refer to that instant information screen that is Wiki!

Chips or Crisps .... as long as they have some potato in them – and some flavourings of sorts ... some certainly strange to my taste ... our western mouths seem to gobble them up; each Pringle is a hyperbolic paraboloid – just like the London 2012 venue – except there’s only one Velodrome.

London 2012 Olympic Velodrome
Then of course there’s the cost ... each Pringle costs less than a penny, or cent ... whereas the Velodrome (and its transformation) will cost £93 million.  

The venue will be handed to the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and form the heart of a new VeloPark for use by the local community, clubs and elite athletes.  (The other elite 21st C Velodrome venue is in the north of England in Manchester).

Forest City Velodrome
in London, Ontario
The VeloPark will also include the reconfigured BMX track (that event has just started), a new mountain bike track and a new road cycle route, as well as cafe, bike hire and cycle workshop facilities – sounds an excellent idea.

Velodromes started life as an arena for track cycling, funnily enough, while the early ones could be included with other sporting facilities and always varied in shape and length. 

The Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney, Australia
The one at Preston Park, Brighton was built in 1877, is 579m long and features four straights linked by banked curves ... while the Portsmouth one is 536m long but has one straight linked with a very long curve.

The Olympics brought about the standardisation of competitive arenas ... and international competitions are now held on velodromes with 250m laps.

Sir Chris Hoy at the
2008 World
in Manchester

Sir Chris Hoy – who has won six gold and one silver medal at the Olympic Games – has been a key adviser in the design of the London 2012 venue.  The track is fast ... with many world and Olympic records having been broken.

The specifications are quite extraordinary ... the temperature is a controlled 82 deg F (28 deg C!) – as warmer air offers less resistance; the whole is in an airtight membrane – with air-locked double doors to get in ... you have to wait to get out. 

Light vents in the roof

There are no draughts ... nothing to disturb the cyclists – but it’s hot and a bit pongy ... the audience of 6,000 is also likely to be gently perspiring!  The need for air conditioning was eliminated with the installation of a 100% naturally ventilated system.

Glass viewing wall
The design incorporates ventilation and lets in an abundance of natural light, reducing the amount of energy needed for artificial lighting.  While the roof collects rainwater that will reduce mains water usage by more than 70%.

The seating has been split into two tiers – with the glass wall around the venue’s perimeter, between the two tiers of the venue seating, giving spectators a 360 degree view of the Olympic Park –a  brilliant idea.

Siberian Pine flooring

Wherever possible, the materials used in the venue’s construction were sustainably sourced, including the western red cedar used to clad the Pringle’s exterior.  While Siberian pine used for the track floor ... grows very slowly and is not likely to splinter.

The track construction took 26 carpenters eight weeks to install the Siberian pine race track using 300,000 nails to hold it in place.

A hyperbolic paraboloid
The cable-net roof design (which is ‘strung’ with steel cables in the manner of a tennis racket) reduced the amount of material required and decreased construction time by some 20 weeks.

The Velodrome designers worked closely with the track designers to tailor the track geometry, temperature and environmental conditions with the aim of creating a record-breaking track – they seem to have done that.

All this talk of Pringles has made me hungry ... and I see I
pressed the publish button early ... instead of insert image
... must have other things on my mind!
Sir Chris also thought about the competitors ... the trackside loos, and ringside seating right around the track ... so there is no sudden silence at each end as the cyclists rush past.

So this loudest, hottest and most electric of venues has created the ultimate sporting environment – that is the Pringle of east London.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Julie Flanders said...

Oh, this does look like a Pringle! How funny! And I admit that I love Pringles so this has made me hungry as well. Have to go buy some now. :D

Sherry Ellis said...

It certainly does look like a Pringle chip. How funny!

nutschell said...

it does look like a pringle! how cool! ANd I do love some pringles--especially the honey mustard flavored one. ooh i'm craving one right now!

D.G. Hudson said...

It always amazes one at the amount of effort put into sporting venues, not to mention the money.

It's a very modern design - the Pringle. Minimalist, but not very interesting. Hope it's as functional as they intend.

You find the most interesting viewpoints, Hilary.

Old Kitty said...

I loved going past it when it was being built!! It started off looking quite odd but then the end result is just amazing! Amazing!! Better than the pringle (and as an aside as the pringle is not made out of potatoes it cannot be crisps or chips in my humble opinion! LOL!)!

Take care

Birdie said...

I know I must have an unhealthy obsession with food when the first thing I want after reading this is Pringles!

Jo said...

Not taken a lot of notice of the Velodome as I haven't been watching much in the way of cycling. Incredible amount of money, I hope it turns out to have been worth it.

I like Pringles too, didn't realise you got them in Britain. Been away too long maybe.

Juliet said...

What an exacting design brief that must have been! Sir Chris Hoy has achieved amazingly at the Olympics. I had no idea it was such a controlled atmosphere in there. Thanks for another fascinating post Hilary (even though Blogger still refuses to let me know about them)

Lynn said...

It does look like a Pringle. :) It must be exciting in England right now.

Gattina said...

Very interesting post ! Now I understand why my friend's husband got so angry about the new name when I was in Eastbourne !

Carol Kilgore said...

You know I want a chip now, right? Or rather an entire can of them!

Anonymous said...

What creative minds there are out there to come up with a structure that looks like a Pringle! The twists and turns of the "pringle" as evidenced in these pictures is incredible.

The so-called "useless" information that you find, Hilary, is so absolutely fascinating. Your blog is one of the most original blogs in the blogosphere! I love coming over here!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - it is extraordinary isn't it - so Pringle like .. I'm trying to stay away from them.

@ Sherry - it's going to be around for years to come we have a pringle on the skyline ..

@ Nutshell - there's Olympics Taekwondo going on behind me on the tv ... I just like the plain ones - gone off the flavoured varieties - perhaps I should stop and watch .. we're ahead! Towards a medal with 3 secs to go .. but there's a spanner in the works .. oh well .. nope we came through: gold or silver now!!

@ DG - it's very high tech - state of the art ... for the future - it's been an amazing venue and produced some fantastic results ... incredible sport - cycling that is. Delighted you enjoyed the Pringle view!

@ Old Kitty - did you go up that route ... I'd have loved watching the Olympic Park being built - it looks amazing from the sky via the tv coverage.

Yes - I saw the bit about the potato aspect - didn't read it properly though, just thought I'd wait for you to comment!! Still not sure though reading the Wiki info ... I enjoy eating them when I get a chance!

@ Birdie - I suspect we all want some Pringles after this - and I keep coming back!!

@ Jo - cycling is really exciting .. I suppose I watched a lot when it was on and I was with my Mama .. and we've been rather successful at it - another reason for taking an interest. Pringles here too now.

@ Juliet - there's been a lot of top class expertise brought to the fore by these Olympics - the Velodrome did get a Design Council Award ...

Blogger is a pain isn't it - I went to library today to comment on embedded comment blogs .. glad to see you here ...

@ Lynn - it is exciting in England at the moment .. and with a tube of Pringles and a bottle of vino - we're having fun!!

@ Gattina - I expect quite a few are bit upset about a potato crisp being marketed as a Velodrome!!

@ Carol- I'll join you in a can ... though I have put out some raspberries to eat - tempting me away from potato crisps.

@ Ann - it is amazing the Velodrome looks wonderful with the cedar cladding .. and all its twists and turns - been a very successful venue ... mind you the Brits have ruled supreme.

Ann - you're so supportive and I'm so pleased you enjoy the blog and the posts .. many thanks - delighted I keep you entertained.

Cheers everyone - nearly time for my raspberries instead of a pringle!! ... enjoy your coffee, tea, lunch, supper or whatever you'll be having soon .. Hilary

Annalisa Crawford said...

Luckily the velodrome isn't as addictive as a pringle!

Great post. I love the way your research just spans out.

Al said...

Thanks for the post. Much more interesting then the Olympics themselves

Juliet said...

Yea! Blogger is sending me your posts again. I have to leave another comment just so Blogger gets some positive reinforcement!

Patsy said...

Seems the atmosphere inside has been hot enough to fry potatoes so the nickname is doubly appropriate.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Annalisa - to some people the Velodrome is as addictive as a pringle .. and the taekwando medallist was desperate for junk food! Thanks re the research note ..

@ Al - good to see you again - your teams are starting to pick up medals now - so perhaps will get interesting for you?!

@ Juliet - oh that's great - let's hope it lasts this time ..

@ Patsy - good comment here - it certainly looked mighty hot at times ...

Thanks for being here - cheers Hilary

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I never knew this. I watched the construction on Frontiers of Construction the other day. Who knew! It really does resemble a giant pringle. Fabulous. Thanks, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joylene .. it has won numerous design and architectural awards .. funny they didn't mention its Games' nickname ... wonderful you watched a programme on its construction - I'd love to see that.

Cheers Hilary

Unknown said...

I love the look of that stadium. How cool that it's shaped in that way.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Clarissa .. nearly missed your comment - it's apparently amazing to look at and be in - and did the Brits proud! Cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

Well I'll be. It does look like a giant Pringles chip, doesn't it? I would have never guessed. How interesting.
: )

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susanne - good comment .. it's fun isn't it! Thanks for coming to look at the Pringle ... cheers Hilary

Davina said...

The Pringle -- It's kind of an endearing story, Hilary. I was amazed by the numbers: 26 carpenters, 300,000 nails and eight weeks to install the race track. We don't consider the time and energy that goes into life around us. Thanks for sharing this.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina - numbers always fascinate me .. we just don't think of these things do we .. and they are the kind of amusing statistics that can make people laugh for a few happy minutes ... yet produce this wonderful sports pavilion.

Good to see you and am pleased I put those details in! Cheers and enjoy your Vancouver week - Hilary