Sunday 16 October 2011

Olympic velodrome gets award but designer can't get tickets

(© Carlbob CC2.0)
Just days after it was announced that the £80 million London Olympic Games velodrome had beaten a host of rivals - including the main Olympic stadium which cost £406 million more - to recognition in a prestigious architecture award, track and interior designer Ron Webb has revealed that he's been unable to secure tickets to attend races at the facility.

The velodrome, a stunning hyperbolic paraboloid mimicking the shape of the track within, finished runner-up to the Evelyn Grace Gallery, also in London, but was chosen as popular favourite with a 63% share of the vote in a public poll - the remaining 37% being shared between the Gallery, The Angel Building (London), An Gaelaras (Derry), the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (Stratford) and the Folkwang Museum (Essen). Once the Games are over, it will continue in use as a velodrome hosting national and international events and housing a bike hire centre and cafe. The track is one of 62 created by the designer and forms the centrepiece of the 2012 Games' velopark in Leyton, East London.

Though Games organisers reserved 90,000 tickets to be given to corporate sponsors (who will also enjoy a four-course champagne lunch), Webb had to apply through the lottery and was afforded no special treatment despite his creation being widely lauded as the finest in the world - not only has it proved a hit with the British public, who are not traditionally known for their appreciation of modern architecture, it was the first Olympic structure to be completed and cost less than its estimated budget. While he accepts that he probably won't be able to see his track being used for the purpose for which it was designed, he says he is "disappointed the application system wasn’t run very well."

Any of those corporate sponsors like to show their appreciation by donating a ticket to him?


  1. Perhaps he built a "secret gate" just for his own access hahaha :)

  2. Good idea! Medieval architects sometimes built secret escape routes into castles and the like so the owners couldn't then execute them (as was sometimes the way so that the architect wouldn't then go and build a bigger, better castle for the owner's enemies). Maybe Webb included a secret entrance route...!