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Competition: Kip Island auditorium, Riga

The Riga Expo Centre has announced an open international design competition for a new auditorium (Deadline: 8 February)

Open to everyone, the contest seeks proposals for an iconic new extension to the prominent riverside complex located on Kipsala, or ‘Kip’ Island in the Latvian capital.

The project will deliver a new combined auditorium, exhibition hall and conference rooms connected to the existing 20 year-old structure (pictured).

Latvia

Latvia

Riga Expo Centre

According to the brief: ‘The Riga Expo Centre is looking for an iconic addition to its already well-established complex, and as such will be considering all winning designs in the Kip Island Auditorium architecture competition.

‘The new complex would need to be integrated with the existing complex and act as the new iconic image for the Riga Expo Centre. Winning designs will need to show off the structure’s potential to be the leading exhibition hall in the entire region, and be in keeping with the exciting city in which it is located.’

Established more than 800 years ago, Riga is the largest city in Latvia and the unofficial capital of the Baltic States. It features the region’s largest airport and seaport and was named European Capital of Culture two years ago.

An international competition was launched earlier this year to overhaul and expand Riga’s main railway station. The £156 million regeneration project is part of the Rail Baltica programme which will create a direct train link between Warsaw and Tallinn.

Latvia

Latvia

Riga Expo Centre

The Riga Expo Centre on the western banks of the Daugava river first opened in 1997 and today hosts more than 30 major exhibitions every year.

Teams participating in the competition – which has been organised by Bee Breeders – may feature up to four members and require no professional qualifications.

The winning team – set to be announced on 1 March – will receive $11,000 USD and will see their design considered for construction.

The first place proposal will also be presented during the Green Planet Expo in May where experts from ten Baltic Sea countries will debate issues surrounding climate change.

A second place prize of $6,000 USD, third place prize of $2,000, a student prize of $500 USD and six honourable mentions will also be awarded.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 11.59pm GMT on 8 February.

Fees

Early bird registration from 5 October to 26 October: $90 USD for companies and enthusiasts / $70 USD for students
Advance registration from 27 October to 30 November: $120 USD for companies and enthusiasts / $100 USD for students
Last minute registration from 1 December to 18 January: $140 USD for companies and enthusiasts / $120 USD for students

Contact details

Room D 17/F. Billion Plaza 2
10 Cheung Yue Street
Lai Chi Kok
Kowloon
Hong Kong

Email: hello@beebreeders.com

Visit the competition website for more information

ExCel Phase 2 case study: Q&A with Ben Heath

The principal at Grimshaw discusses lesson learned expanding the ExCel exhibition centre in east London

Ben Heath

Grimshaw

Ben Heath

How did your ExCel Phase 2 project create an iconic extension to London’s main expo venue?

The most distinctive architectural feature of the Phase 2 design is known as the ‘spiral’, which following the building’s completion is now used by ExCeL as their marketing image and brand icon. However it was primarily developed as a practical solution to a myriad of conflicting circulation routes and required functional linkages. These grounded origins give it a perceptible authenticity that a more wilful imposition of icon might not have.

London

London

ExCel Phase 2 by Grimshaw

Which architectural, material and structural solutions did you harness to guarantee the project’s success?

The existing ExCeL exhibition centre represented an exceptional operational venue, but lacked a distinct personality. While being required to work with the same briefing and functional principles, the Phase 2 design successfully allows a memorable visual and spatial visitor experience. The extension to the existing internalised boulevard introduces a series of courtyard spaces each topped with a vast structurally-free single ETFE roof light. These regular connections back to the outside world and their sense of lightness provide a much-needed respite to the black box theatre of the exhibition space.

What issues might be important when creating a new auditorium for an existing conference facility such as the Riga Expo Centre on Kip Island?

It is vital to develop a proper understanding of the existing venue as a working organism in order for the proposed intervention to be fully compatible, and re-imagines the existing spatial offer. Avoid rigid design solutions and ensure that flexibility and adaptability of the facility are key factors. Often concerned almost entirely with their inner core function Conferencing facilities show little regard to their setting and context, so it’s best to celebrate the civic qualities of venue. Lastly, consider the public realm as an extension to the exhibition and visitor experience.

London

London

ExCel Phase 2 by Grimshaw

Dalian International Conference Centre case study: Q&A with Wolf D Prix

The co-founder of Coop Himmelb(l)au discusses lessons learned designing a new conference centre for Dalian in China

Coop Himmelb(l)au

Coop Himmelb(l)au

Source: Image by Zwefo

Wolf D Prix

How did your Dalian International Conference Centre project create an iconic new facility for the growing city?

Located in China’s northeastern province of Liaoning, Dalian International Conference Centre presents an unmistakable landmark which emblematises the promising future of a harbour city of Dalian and reflects Dalian’s tradition of being an important trade centre with direct access to the sea. The centre hosts a multifunctional “small city within a city” with conference and event rooms for 7,000 visitors in a total area of 117,650m². It is not only a conference centre, but also a communication centre which works on many levels – as a place where people can meet, as a presentation space for operas, as well as a public plaza.

Despite its enormous size the building is as vibrant as a city. The entry hall has the size of four football fields and reaches up to 45 meters high. Even with this size, the building is not forbidding but rather clearly arranged and inviting.

China

China

Source: Image by Shu He

Dalian International Conference Centre by Coop Himmelb(l)au

Which architectural, material and structural methods did you harness to guarantee the project’s success?

It was determined from the outset that the World Economic Forum would be the main user. This Swiss foundation is mainly known for its annual meetings in Davos and annually organises a “summer Davos” at this new site in China. The requirements for this function determined the spatial concept, the size and number of conference rooms and offices. Since the opera and conference centre are situated directly behind one another, the main stage can be used for the classic theatre auditorium just as well as for the flexible multi-purpose hall. The opera house is based on a multifunctional design and can be used for such events as conferences, music and theatre all the way to classic opera with very little effort.

The formal appearance of Dalian International Conference Centre is coined by the lively climate skin, an energy supporting façade designed to control heat loss and gain. The façade is a climate skin which follows the technical principal of providing a building with natural ventilation for heating as well as cooling. Streams of air are guided through the building by openings in the facade. The relative thermal energy of the sea water and the natural ventilation of the enormous air volumes in the building are used for the cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. Low-temperature systems are used for heating while the thermal mass of the concrete core is activated to keep the building temperature constant.

China

China

Source: Image by Duccio Malagamba

Dalian International Conference Centre by Coop Himmelb(l)au

Furthermore, the facade permits to channel daylight into the building. Using a parametric program, we created window openings that control sun exposure while admitting natural light. A high degree of natural daylight reduces the energy consumption for artificial lighting and has a positive psychological effect – artificial light exhausts the body as well as the mind.

What issues might be important when creating a new auditorium for an existing conference facility such as the Riga Expo Centre on Kip Island?

Well developed acoustic concept is highly important for an auditorium. Great sound quality is a requisite in making the environment of the auditorium enjoyable and unique. Therefore an acoustics research is necessary to conduct in all phases in order to predict the movement of sound and vibration through the auditorium.

China

China

Source: Image by Shu He

Dalian International Conference Centre by Coop Himmelb(l)au