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Competition: Greater Tainan Expo Centre, Taiwan

Tainan City has announced an open international design contest for a £45 million exhibition centre in Southern Taiwan (Deadline: 30 August)

The competition seeks ‘unique’ proposals for a 39,000m2 exhibition and events facility for the country’s high-tech industries on a 5.2ha site next to two high-speed rail stations.

Proposals for the urban site should include a public plaza at the entrance, a large outdoor events area, a restaurant and car parking. The finished building will require a range of conference halls, function rooms and booths for exhibits and other flexible uses.

Contest site in Guiren, Tainan

Contest site in Guiren, Tainan

Contest site in Guiren, Tainan

According to the brief: ‘The Greater Tainan Expo Centre will combine the features of an arena and serve as a multi-functional venue for performances, sports competitions, banquets and other events.

‘Being an interaction platform for industry, the Expo Centre is expected to enhance the industrial technology and business opportunities in order to draw more international investments.’

The competition focuses on an undeveloped site in the Guiren District on the south-east fringe of the city next to the new Taiwan High Speed Rail (2007) and TRA Shalun terminus (2011).

The development is part of a Taiwanese government initiative to promote local and international business meetings, conferences, and events in order to boost local employment and tax revenues.

The new building will be expected to feature a 1,000-capacity conference room with a column free height above 12m and the potential to be sub-divided into four separate rooms each with space for 250 delegates. A 12,100m2 multistorey car park will space for 550 cars and 450 scooters will also be required.

The competition language is traditional Chinese and applicants will need to prove their design credentials and financial capability to deliver a project of this scale. The most advantageous tender bid will be chosen to design and develop the scheme.

The overall winner, to be announced 8 September, will take home $1.5 million NTD while a second place prize of $1 million NTD and third place prize of $800,000 NTD will also be awarded.

How to apply


The deadline for submissions is 12noon local time on 30 August


The registration fee is $20 NTD

Contact details

Public Works Bureau Of Tainan City Government
6, Yung-Hwa Rd., Sec. 2
708 Tainan

Tel: +886-6-2991111 Ext 8714

Visit the competition website for more information

Contest site

Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre case study: Q&A with Jay Siebenmorgen

The consulting principal at NBBJ discusses lessons learned designing a new exhibition centre in Nanjing, China

How did your Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre project deliver an appropriate facility for its context?

The design of the Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre reflects not only the historical architecture of the city and region, but also the beautiful context of contrasting mountains and valleys. With the city situated between two mountains, the abstraction of nature – abstracted mountains – is conceived in the building as a series of ‘light cannons’ that become the main source of natural light within the deep floor plates, and also become a dramatic roof surface, with intertwined green spaces that offer views to the surrounding landscape and urban centre across the river. Eight light cannons are distributed throughout the mass, orientated due north, in strategic locations reaching down to different levels of the building, spreading natural light throughout while offering unique, inspirational spaces for the office environment. The resulting roof form reads as an abstraction of the surrounding Nanjing topography and passively shades the building throughout the entire day. Sectionally, the roof forms are a dual-layer system with the outer, thick layer acting as a structural trellis system. This lightweight layer passively shades the entire roof and significantly reduces energy loads. Terraces and gardens occupy the space between the light cannons, offering places of respite and views outward to the island and city beyond.

Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre by NBBJ

Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre by NBBJ

Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre by NBBJ

Which architectural, material, cultural and other methods did you harness in your design?

The material palette of the overall project (which includes the expo centre) is driven by the use of sustainable materials and technologies. The landscape concept plays with the duality of soft- and hard-edged materials – this can be seen in the landscape mounds entwined within the forthcoming office research park, and in the future canal with a formal boardwalk and a more natural marsh edge. This duality is further explored in the ‘Horizon Line’ concept that separates the zinc-clad roof and the western red cedar soffit of the completed exhibition hall. Both materials were chosen for their natural, sustainable properties, which make them long-lasting and low-maintenance materials. As emphasised by the client’s vision, optimism is physically manifested and symbolised in the horizon, situating this place between the rich local history and the future outlook of Nanjing. The horizon line expresses the relationship between man and nature, between past and present, and becomes a reminder of a people’s unlimited aspirations.

Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre by NBBJ

Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre by NBBJ

Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre by NBBJ

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new exposition centre for Tainan?

My advice to fellow designers is to always respect the historical cultural significance of the city you’re designing within and investigate how it can influence the architecture. An expo centre engages many different events and visitors and therefore it should have a significant architectural statement that is profound yet timeless.

Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre by NBBJ

Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre by NBBJ

Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre by NBBJ