Foster and Rogers among architects preparing to fight it out for design-led contract

The cream of Britain’s architects are lining up to bid for the Olympic velopark, the only large scheme left in the 2012 Games to be procured through a design-led route.

Foster and Partners, Richard Rogers Partnership, Make and SMC Alsop are set to bid to design the £28.8m cycling track, which is to go out to tender in the next few weeks.

Olympic masterplanner Foreign Office Architects and S&P Architects, which is working alongside Zaha Hadid on the design-led aquatics centre, will also bid if the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) allows firms to be involved in more than one project.

Others that will throw their hat into the ring include Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, FaulknerBrowns and David Morley Architects, and others area likely to follow.

The velodrome will be the final opportunity for architects to showcase their talents on a large-scale design-led Olympic contract. The stadium was tendered through a design-and-build contract and the media centre will be procured using the same route.

The large number of bids had led some architects to express scepticism about how the ODA would deal with such an influx.

Will Alsop said the contest could turn into a lottery. “If there are 150 or 200 expressions of interest and then a large number of bids, is the ODA going to be able to give enough time to each? It will be a gamble who gets through.”

The news comes as the ODA was hit by an unexpected VAT bill for up to £1bn.

Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister, confirmed in the Commons that the initial budget for the construction of the games did not include provision for VAT.

EU rules mean that VAT is due on the £2.4bn building costs, as the Treasury cannot be seen to waive the charges. The Treasury is in discussions with the ODA over how to resolve the situation and chancellor Gordon Brown said an announcement would be made soon.

The Treasury and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are negotiating a fresh funding package for the Games, which is expected to exceed the £2.4bn in the original bid.

The velopark will consist of a velodrome and an outdoor BMX circuit. It will be built in the northern part of the Olympic park, west of the Olympic village.

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