CTICC expansion: Design for the unexpected

The multi-purpose nature of an exhibition hall is a vital component to its successful operations and ability to attract a wide range of events. Often not considered, are those events that require the exhibition space to be transformed into something completely unexpected e.g. a sport arena.

In the case of a sports arena, the basic spatial parameters (or constraints) are important. They can either support the multi-purpose nature of the venue or act as a barrier. The lowest point of the roof of the CTICC exhibition halls, potentially obstructing sightlines, impacts its ability to use its maximum capacity as arena.

For cities considering multi-sport events e.g. the Commonwealth Games or Olympic Games, or even the World Games, the easy transition from exhibition space to arena mode is vital.

Here are some basic guidelines when considering the exhibition hall component of the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

1. Ensure sufficient width and length of exhibition halls to allow simultaneous use of all halls during an agreed upon “arena mode” (ideally in the detailed design phase)  This avoids having to “squash” seats into awkward corners.

2. Ensure sufficient roof height to match arena mode, accommodating suitable sightlines. This would ensure  that spectators sitting higher up do not have obstructed views of the field of play i.e. views blocked by the lowest point of the roof.

3. Ensure that the basic roof design and lighting can alternate to ensure sufficient conditions for broadcasters without the need for additional rigging or lighting.

Images: Bilbao Exhibition Centre