Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Structure: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Location: 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai
Architect: Larry Oltmanns
Structural Engineer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
A cultural icon of Hong Kong both locally and abroad, the gull-wing shaped logo of the Hong Kong Cultural and Exhibition Centre is an inseparable part of Hong Kong. The building hosts a myriad of conventions and meetings all year long, and its appearance is synonymous with Hong Kong itself. However, there is more to the Convention Centre than just pretty looks, as it is by itself, already a large architectural feat, winning awards all over the globe.
When it was first constructed in 1988, the convention centre only had 1 phase. It was first built along Gloucester Road, and sported the largest glass curtain in the world at the time. However, this is far from the convention centre that we all know. Phase 2 of the building, or the “New Wing”, began construction in 1994. The expansion not only aimed to more than double the size of the first phase, along with it also came the iconic gull-wing rooftop. The two phases were originally planned to be connected by a linking bridge, but this was scrapped in favour of an atrium. As the 21th century came along, the building was still not immune to expansion. In 2008, owing to the need for more exhibition space, an expansion to the atrium was built. During the expansion, a top-down approach was needed, as the expansion was situated above the harbour. This unconventional way of building broke local construction records. The expansion was finished in May 2009.
Even from afar, the building’s aluminium roof, meant to be shaped as a bird taking flight, is a sight to behold. However the sight is not the only thing that’s impressive. When being built, the roof was designed with a simple straight line curve in mind, therefore allowing the roof to be built and collapse fairly easily. This building method ushered in new methods for the building of roof trusses such as the one on the HKCEC.
The interior of the building is nothing to scoff at as well. Sporting many facilities used by both locals and foreigners. In both phases, there are a total of six exhibition halls, two multi-purpose halls, two theatres, fifty-two meeting rooms, seven restaurants and two underground car parks. More often than not, there would be two or more events happening at the same time, simply because of the sheer amount of space.
The cultural, historical and architectural importance of the Hong Kong Cultural and Exhibition Centre cannot be understated. When it first begun construction in 1985, its foundation stone was laid by Queen Elizabeth I. marking her last visit to Hong Kong during the colonial era. More recently however, it is the host to, as its name suggests, many unique exhibitions and conventions. Without its massive convention space, part of Hong Kong’s identity as a cultural hub would have most certainly have been lost, and Hong Kong would not be as well-know as it is today.
Image courtesy of https://www.hkcec.com/en/image-gallery