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Michael Hall



Mike leads our work in the sport and leisure sector, both nationally and internationally. This includes elite, competition and training venues as well as community sport and leisure projects for public and private sector clients. From his experience working closely with sports governing bodies such as FINA, UCI, IAAF and ICF, Mike has extensive knowledge of the requirements for sports facilities. He has developed a particular specialism in velodromes, bringing innovation to this building typology internationally, along with aquatics centres and ice facilities. Mike is passionate about the importance of active infrastructure in our towns and cities, and his genuine interest in sustainability and environmentally-conscious buildings has led the development of a sustainability strategy for the practice, particularly on our sport and leisure projects. Mike is a member of IAKS – the International Association for Sports & Leisure Facilities, based in Cologne – and sits on the IAKS International Expert Aquatics Circle. He is a representative of the UIA – International Union of Architects – and sits on the Sports and Leisure Programme Working Group, speaking regularly at national and international events and conferences.

Velodrome Design Expertise Track Geometry Diagram L

The velodrome is one of the most iconic, engaging and complex sporting arenas of our time. The experience gained from the design and delivery of four velodromes has given our architectural practice a unique understanding of the challenges posed by these remarkable buildings.

The scale and unique format of an indoor cycling track means that a large building footprint is required to accommodate a relatively small number of cyclists at any one time. As a consequence many velodromes struggle to maintain commercial viability.

In fact, around 50% of Olympic velodromes have failed to achieve a sustainable future and are no longer in operation.

To raise income and increase occupancy, the challenge is to find ways of integrating other uses within the building alongside cycling. Our analysis of existing velodrome shortfalls has allowed us to evolve the building typology to do just that.

During major events the infield space at the centre of the track is utilised as a preparation area for competing teams; however in every day usage it is a challenge to extract value from this space due to poor accessibility. Our smart approaches to infield access have created venues with diverse sport, leisure and events programmes.

Velodrome Design Expertise Omnisportcentrum Apeldoorn Davis Cup Tennis Infield L
Davis Cup tennis infield at Omnisportcentrum Apledoorn

At Apeldoorn velodrome, a section of track lowers hydraulically into the floor to allow direct access into the infield, greatly increasing the flexibility to host lucrative events.

At Derby Arena this is taken a stage further: the track is raised to the first floor, providing level access to the infield from ground level. The infield is formatted as a large flexible community sports hall capable of hosting a wide range of sporting activities, as well as large-scale events and performances.

Velodrome Design Expertise Derby Arena Overlay Section L
Elevating the track - Derby arena concept

Understanding this relationship between the track, the infield and the venue’s long term objectives is crucial in creating a velodrome with a sustainable future.

A well designed velodrome endears the sport of cycling to the widest possible audience, whether that is the next generation of Olympic hopefuls or simply people wanting to engage in a more active lifestyle.

Our National Cycling Centre in Manchester is often referred to as the ‘medal factory’ due to its success in turning talented young riders into Olympic medallists. However the success of our elite athletes has inspired many amateur riders to take to the same track, many for the first time.

Elite and beginner athletes at Derby and Manchester

Our design for Edmonton Community Recreation Centre flips the concept of an open and accessible velodrome on its head. The building is conceived as a community centre with an integrated cycle track, rather than a velodrome with additional sports facilities. Featuring a sports hall and indoor running track and connecting to a swimming pool, the facility is designed to serve a diverse cross section of the local population.

Velodrome Design Expertise Edmonton Community Velodrome L
Edmonton Community Velodrome

Building on our desire to develop cycling venues that do more than just host events, we have also developed an exciting new concept for a low volume, low cost velodrome, capable of performing as a training venue for cyclists and a flexible multi-sports hall for other users. This architectural concept forms a part of our vision for the future of velodrome design.

Velodrome Design Expertise Training Velodrome Concept L
Training Velodrome concept

Michael Hall