© Foster + Partners
© Foster + Partners

London City Racecourse

When the client proposed to develop a new all-weather 10-furlong racetrack on a 345-acre site in north-east London, providing capacity for 2,000 spectators, stables, leisure facilities and car park, we teamed up with Foster + Partners to realise the design.

Our focus was on the main grandstand building which comprises six large floor plates under a curved roof of 640 m long and 120 m width. The roof provides covering to all the accommodation below and is a canopy to the terraces overlooking the racetrack to the south. Its geometry is based on Norman Foster’s freehand sketches, and we rationalised these so that all the shapes came from different arcs of the same mathematical curve. This meant we were able to draw on well-tested methods but apply them in a unique manner.

From two vertical cores, 27 m apart, spring huge box trusses up to 7.5 m deep and cantilevering to a maximum of 50 m. The resulting depth of the roof structure makes enough height for access to spectator boxes at the roof’s leading edge, soaring over the stand.

Good visibility was a driver for the shape, not just from the seats to the course, but also from the vertical circulation cores and into the parade ring, and to observe fellow race-goers. A leisure centre and retail units take the 675 m length of the grandstand to an overall 1,000 m, and it all rests on a landfill site.

The structure of the terrace stands were proposed to be of precast concrete slabs supported off cantilevering steel beams. These beams in turn are supported off columns at 9 m intervals and were carefully analysed for induced vibrations and movements.

A new curved grandstand building for this urban racecourse with 10,000-seat capacity

London, UK
Wiggins Plc
Foster + Partners
£ 150 million