The Source Civil Engineering Magazine Slideshow: Striking geometric lines to elevate conference venue’s expansion in Beijing

Slideshow: Striking geometric lines to elevate conference venue’s expansion in Beijing

By Catherine A. Cardno, Ph.D.

  • looking up a central open-air spine between two lines of copper colored buildings, with angled elevated walkways that are enclosed criss-crossing the landscaped spine
  • aerial shot of three rows -- two long and one short -- of copper colored buildings connected with geometric lines.
  • a quiet garden with grass and shrubs is located underneath an enclosed elevated walkway that connects two copper colored buildings
  • looking across a small pond lined with green with a paved plaza teaming with people. A series of low-rise copper colored buildings are located on the far side of the plaza

Created by British design firm Zaha Hadid Architects, a 16-building expansion of the International Exhibition Centre in Beijing will be defined by the visually rich texture and colors of traditional Chinese ceramic roof tiles.

Beijing is one of the world’s centers of communication and scientific research, and the existing exhibition center supports that role through hosting conferences, trade fairs, and industry expositions with local, national, and global attendees, according to material distributed by ZHA. Located on Line 15 of the Beijing Subway and next to the Beijing Capital International Airport, the expansion will add an additional 438,500 sq m to this complex.

The expansion will contain 346,500 sq m of exhibition halls on the southern side of the site and a 44,000 sq m conference center and 48,000 sq m hotel on the northern side. An additional 205,200 sq m of space will be located in basements. A series of elevated interior walkways and exterior ground-level plazas will link the facility’s buildings together for pedestrians.

The buildings are arranged around a central north-south axis, with an open-air walkway and series of linked courtyards, landscaped gardens, cafes, and public event spaces providing flexibility and efficiency in movements, according to the architects.

For the buildings, symmetric geometries in the roof systems will create efficient lightweight large-span structures with flexible column-free interiors for use in a variety of types of exhibitions and events. The buildings’ composite roof systems are also designed to insulate and provide maximum sound absorption to protect the buildings’ interiors from external noise.

Modular fabrication and construction methods will minimize on-site construction time, investment, and operational costs, according to the architects.

The complex expansion also includes solar arrays to gather energy and a smart building management system that will balance the opportunities provided by natural ventilation with the use of high-efficiency heating, ventilating, and air conditioning equipment. Rainwater will be collected and grey water recycled for use in the extensive gardens and natural landscaping on the site. 

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