Olympic Velodrome beaten to architecture prize by Brixton school

olympic velodrome, olympics, velodrome, london, 2012, chris hoy, victoria pendleton, gb, track cycling

The Olympic velodrome in London was beaten to a prestigious architectural award at the weekend by an innovative school in London.

The Evelyn Grace Academy was awarded the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Stirling Prize despite being one of the least favourite of the six nominees in the initial public vote.

The velodrome, the first building to be completed in the Olympic park and by far the most attractive, received 62.9 per cent of the public vote, the Evelyn Grace Academy received just 2.8 per cent.

The velodrome, designed by Hopkins Architects, was the standout favourite thanks to the voting, but the winner is decided by a panel of judges who plumped for the school

In the video presentation on the velodrome shown on the night, the narrator said; "The building consummately delivers a simple idea," and that "the affect is one of effortlessness and grace." But maybe the issue for the velodrome was that aside from it's outer beauty (what would have pleased the public) the inside remains simple.

The glass on the concourse level provides 360 degree light, while the suspended cable roof itself is hailed as a "significant engineering achievement," but elsewhere the velodrome's internals are relatively simple. All it really needs to do is house a track and spectators.

However the Evelyn Grace Academy is an exceptionally clever use of space - what architecture is truly all about - and it seems that functionality won out over sheer external beauty.

The velodrome may have lost out on the prize, but the voting suggests it has already won place in the public's heart. On time, on budget and popular with the public, there's not many sporting venues in the world that can make such a boast.

How the velodrome was presented at the award ceremony in Rotherham

The Evelyn Grace Academy, the winning entrant

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Simon Richardson
Magazine editor

Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling 1989 when watching the Tour de France on Channel 4, started racing in 1995 and in 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium. During his time at CW (and Cycle Sport magazine) he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He became the 130-year-old magazine's 13th editor in 2015.