Competition in the Commonwealth Games begins long before athletes are positioned behind starting lines. Cities vie for the privilege to host this quadrennial event, which is open to the 53 nations of the British Commonwealth, and architects compete to design the venues. Glasgow won its bid in November to host the 2014 Games, and Sports Concepts was named the victor of a European ideas competition. In collaboration with 3DReid, Halcrow Yolles, and Arup, it has designed a 430,000-square-foot, $250 million National Indoor Sports Arena and Velodrome.
“We developed our concepts based on a mega-building where we connected both indoor arenas with an office building,” says Michael Lischer, principal architect of Sports Concepts. This glass-and-metal clad structure will share circulation space, a cafeteria, dressing rooms, and offices for the National Sport Federations. Connecting the three facilities under one roof simplifies building operations and significantly cuts the construction costs, Lischer says.
The complex will include a 200-meter indoor hydraulic track that can be raised and lowered at the push of a button to open the center arena for badminton or basketball games; the space will also seat up to 5,000 spectators. A velodrome, a carefully calibrated banked wooden track for indoor cycling, will be designed by an as yet unselected specialist; this space will seat as many as 4,000 people.
Although construction is not slated to begin until the spring of 2009, the project could allow Scotland to reap early rewards. “It will kick-start the regeneration of an urban brown field site in a deprived suburb of Glasgow,” Lischer says. The building will be available for recreational use when it opens in the summer of 2011.
Also included among the new venues for the 2014 Games are a 12,500-seat National Entertainment Arena for gymnastics and netball events, designed by Sir Norman Foster and scheduled to be completed in 2011, and a hockey center, which is still in planning stages.