Of course, some might say that the sheer scale of the 10,000-square metre complex sitting hard up against SH1 is pretty defining as well. However it’s difficult to fit a 250m track and a few thousand seats into a building and have it look unobtrusive. APL’s Flushglaze commercial window suite was installed in multi-storey spans at the New Zealand Cycling Centre of Excellence but not in places where it matters to the track cyclists. The windows are in three sides of the adjoining administration building and contain highly advanced glazing products for heat and solar control.
The light in the arena itself comes from semi-opaque skylights and two rails of track lighting totalling 356 lights that mirror the sweep of the circuit.
The centre was recently opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and has APL (Architectural Profiles Ltd) as one of its main sponsors. APL Vantage brand manufacturer, Regal Aluminium Ltd, of Hamilton, was the window supplier for the project which required careful detailing and pre-planning because of the 5° lean of the main window facade. The architects for the complex were Chibnall Buckell Marovic Team Architects and the main contractor Livingstone Builders.
Already the Avantidrome is being described by competitors as one of the fastest tracks in the Pacific, a reputation that is certain to prove a magnet for serious cyclists who want to set PBs for their favoured distances. The Cambridge facility is the country’s second internationally compliant indoor velodrome, joining the Invercargill track which was constructed in 2007, which is also widely regarded as very fast.
The individual variation in track speed from circuit to circuit is made possible by the relatively free hand track architects are given by the International Cycling Union which specifies a length of 250m and not too much else in the way of guidelines. Track shape, angles and embankment steepness are all negotiable. The corners at Cambridge have a pitch of 43°, a sobering sight for close-up spectators.
The designers for the Avantidrome and Invercargill tracks were Schurmann Architects, of Munster, Germany, a long established family practice that has been responsible for more than 120 velodrome tracks internationally over half a century. The Cambridge track is not a symmetrical one and Schurmann provided over 6,000 coordinate points to establish the precise position of the track’s inner and outer walls.
Schurmann are also constructors. They sent a 13-man team to Cambridge to build the track from Siberian Spruce laid on 300 x 75mm timber joists. Traditional tools were brought to the fore during the building process by the German craftsmen – handsaws, hammers, nails and old fashioned wood planes to remove high points.
The 135mm Flushglaze facade on the western side of the complex was constructed on a 5° wedge at the sill and was 10.3m high. Due to the wall’s lean, Regal Aluminium could not use scaffolding during the installation and glazing; a mobile hoist was used instead. Special double-coated double-glazed ‘Sunguard’ IGU’s were used on this elevation to control heat and solar gain.
APL CEO, Craig Vincent, who was present at the royal opening, commented recently that the Avantidrome sponsorship had a sentimental dimension to it that was unrelated to the company’s broader corporate support for high profile Waikato sports teams.
“The entity now known as APL was actually conceived in Cambridge in 1971,” said Craig, “so it’s fitting that we should have come full circle with this sponsorship on the town’s front door.”