Function is necessarily at the heart of any stadium design, and particularly when it is purpose-built for an event so significant as the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
As much as the Cox Architecture-designed Anna Meares Velodrome accommodates high levels of sportsmanship, it is also significant for its architecture. Namely, the saddle-form lightweight steel roof that acts as its primary marker.
Cox Architecture worked closely with engineers at Arup for the design and construction of the undulating steel superstructure, whose curved form is intended as a reference to the dynamics of cycling. In total, the roof sits across over 10,000 square metres and clears spans of up to 118 metres between inclined perimeter supports. This makes it one of the largest clear-span roofs in the country.
“The architectural vision is a bowl that grows from the undulating landscape,” says Arup.
“Simple straight roof components [were] prefabricated [into] facetted planar roof trusses. These components and trusses were designed using a ‘construction-lead’ approach to reduce fabrications, transportation and erection costs, and designed for fabrication in Queensland from readily available Australian steel.
“A number of Ecologically Sustainable Design (ESD) initiatives have been included to create a holistic ESD plan for the development. The initiatives were based on the Green Star Public Building Pilot tool and expanded to incorporate elements of the living building challenge and other initiatives that were considered to be in line with the goals of the project.”
According to Arup, there was “an extensive” use of parametric design techniques employed to develop the velodrome’s frame.
Both the walls and roof of the velodrome are clad with a combination of “opaque and translucent” tensioned membrane fabric. This allows natural light to penetrate the interior, while protecting seated spectators from the elements. The membrane is also able to accommodate projections onto its surface during events.
Cox Architecture won a design competition for the Anna Meares Velodrome in 2013. The $58-million project, which was purpose-built for the 2018 Commonwealth Games track cycling competition, was jointly funded by the Queensland state government and the Australian federal government.
Then-premier Jeff Seeney said of the design, “The firm’s winning design capitalises on south-east Queensland’s subtropical climate and conservation surrounds while its streamlined roof design will overcome the weather limitations of the existing outdoor velodrome [that was] built for the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games.”