Novo Mesto (Slovenia): The Velodrome covered with an air dome

The town of Novo Mesto is known to cyclists from all over the world for its velodrome, in the woods just outside the centre, in Češta vas.

Published also in: Tsport 331

Novo Mesto, about seventy kilometers southeast of Ljubljana, is an old town in Slovenia with a medieval town centre located in a bend in the Krka River. The town is known to cyclists from all over the world for its velodrome, in the woods just outside the centre, in Češta vas.
The Velodrome or open type cycling track, stand and multifunctional asphalt plate were constructed in 1996 for the organisation of Youth world cycling championship (authors Marjan Zupanc, Špela Kuhar, Aleš Bizjak).


The purpose of the latest construction work was to cover the existing sports structure with inflatable membrane which enables the protection against weather inconveniences and prolongs the life expectanct of sports and recreational areas. The operation consisted of adding new programs into the cycling structure with the backbone being the existing 250-meter cycling track, compatible with circular 200m athletic track. From the construction-architectural perspective, the project consists of the reinforced concrete phase which includes entrances into the structure and secondly of the mobile inflatable membrane anchored into the structure. Double-layered insulating membrane covering the velodrome area is made of radial air chambers which articulate enormous roof area.


The air dome is a large clear span, covered with two layers of special PVC coated fabric and anchored to the concrete walls, under internal pressure and without any kind of construction; the pressurized air is the main construction element.
The ventilation system provides a slight overpressure inside the air dome to ensure the distinguished form of the airdome, hence the stability of the airdome under all climatic condition. It is necessary to inflate certain amount of air in the airdome constantly. The same inflating units can work as a heating unit, to heat up the entire space. The optimal pressure inside the air dome is 200-300 Pascal under normal conditions, depends on the air dome size and specifications.


The ventilation system ensures the fresh air circulation inside the air dome to keep a healthy, fresh and cool environment for the visitors inside the air dome. In the case of local electricity supply failure or pressure loss, the emergency backup unit intervenes immediately.