How do you reimagine the design of a convention center? After all, it’s a structure that generally has an industrial feel in order to accommodate large event, meeting and trade show space and the expanses required to move displays, equipment and groups of people in and out.
The international architecture firm, Studio Fuksas, looked to nature to bring a light, airy feel to the new Rome-Eur Convention Centre and Hotel in Rome, Italy. The design consists of three segments. The first is the main building, a longitudinally oriented steel and glass container named the “Theca,” like an enveloping sheath or case found in the plant and animal world.
The Theca encloses the “Cloud,” a steel-ribbed structure covered by a 15,000-square-meter transparent curtain. Its free-form shape seems to float within the space and provides a dramatic contrast to the geometrically defined edifice of the building. The final segment is the “Blade,” a 439-room hotel.
The artistically imagined Cloud is also a very functional space. It includes an auditorium that can seat 1,850 people, snack areas and space for support services to the auditorium. The entire 55,000 square-meter complex has a 9,000-seat capacity and is designed to be a flexible space that can accommodate meetings, conferences and exhibition events.
Sustainable aspects of the design include a climate control system that features variable-flow air conditioning that adjusts to the number of people in a room for optimal use of energy. The cover of the Theca features photovoltaic elements that allow for a natural production of electricity and protects the building from overheating through the mitigation of the solar radiation. It also provides significant energy savings.