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Dalian International Conference Center, Dalian, China


With the International Conference Center, the Viennese architectural studio Coop
Himmelb(l)au has constructed an unmistakable landmark for the prospering harbor city
of Dalian, China. Opened in 2012 and featuring a shell-shaped roof, the center hosts a
multifunctional “small city within a city” with conference and event rooms for 7,000
visitors in a total area of 117,650 m².

The two major urban axes converging here give rise to the building’s position and basic
shape. The conference hall for 2,500 visitors and opera house with 1,800 seats is
located in the center of the building beneath the shell-shaped, partially translucent roof.
Small conference rooms with numerous usage options surround this core like pearls,
forming an internal urban structure with squares and streets that invite visitors to linger
and chat – the informal meeting spaces that are so important for conferences. Chill-out
zones and catering stations are also located here. The controlled supply of daylight
assists the visitors in their spatial orientation and creates an atmospheric variety on the
inside. “Despite its enormous size for 7,000 people, the building is as vibrant as a city,”
explains Wolf D. Prix, Design Principal and CEO of Coop Himmelb(l)au. “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.”

Form and function
It was determined from the outset that the World Economic Forum would be its main
user. This Swiss foundation is mainly known for its annual meetings in Davos and
annually organizes 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 center are situated directly behind one
another, the main stage can be used for the classic theater 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 theater all the way to
classic opera with very little effort.
To make the building’s architectural concept and function visible from the outside, the
conference halls penetrate the facade. They stand out against the metallic outer skin
and deform it. The perforated aluminum slats of the exterior shell provide a sufficient
amount of daylight and give the building its striking sculptural shape. The slats are
opened in some of the public areas, offering selective views of the city and the bay of


More precisely. The opera.” Prix explains. since these were the only facilities where the 10-cm steel plates could be welded safely and precisely. “At Coop Himmelb(l)au. .  Low-temperature systems are used for heating while the thermal mass of the concrete core is activated to keep the building temperature constant. naturally ventilated sub climatic area.” Both elements are steel space frames with depths ranging between five and eight meters. along with the strong wind.Design “The building consists of two elements. A new district and international port for cruise ships is currently being developed on several fallow properties from former heavy industry plants and artificially filled-in grounds along Dalian’s coastline – a structural transformation that will have a great impact on the nationwide significance of the city within the next decade. commercial and tourist center in China’s northeastern province of Liaoning. we are thus putting Le Corbusier’s words into practice. with a three-dimensional deformed façade-roof construction above it. conference halls and access zones rest on the table-shaped steel construction.” Prix says. The steel constructions were produced at Chinese shipyards.  The atrium beneath the roof is conceived as a solar-heated. With six million residents. Sustainable energy concept One of the most important tasks of sustainable architecture is minimizing the energy consumption. Modern technology and construction expertise allowed for span widths of more than 85 meters and projections of more than 40 meters.  Integrated into the shape of the building. “the table and the roof. Location Dalian is an important seaport as well as an industrial. the city was declared a special economic zone in 1984 and numerous foreign companies established a base there. The planners utilized Dalian’s location on the sea.  A high degree of natural daylight reduces the energy consumption for artificial lighting and has a positive psychological effect. solar panels provide additional energy. this means:  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. It is therefore essential to integrate natural environmental resources. when he said that buildings should be constructed like ships. The whole structure is supported by fourteen vertical cores made of composite steel and concrete.

Katsyua Arai. Matthias Bornhofer. Victoria Coaloa Project Coordination China: Lei Feng Project Team: Nico Boyer. DADRI Dalian Institute of Architecture Design and Research Co. Brian Cody. Sachin Thorat. Dalian.DALIAN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTER PROJECT TEAM Client: Dalian Municipal People’s Government. Giacomo Tinari. Yue Chen. Gaspar Gonzalez Melero. Jessie Chen. P. Peter Rose. Wendy Fok. P. Matthias Niemeyer. J&A Interior Design. / k18. LTD. Berlin.600 m². Rashmi Jois. Olivia Wimmer. Jan Brosch. Alice Gong. China Lighting Design: a•g Licht. UD Studio.250 m². Veronika Janovska. Germany Audio & Video: CRFTG Radio. total: / Daniel Kerbler / silkroad. Film and Television Design & Research Institute.R. Pola Dietrich. Katrin Ertle. Bollinger Grohmann Schneider ZT-GmbH. Matt Kirkham. André Nakonz. Moritz Keitel. Zhu Juankang. Reinhard Hacker.R.R. LTD. Manfred Yuen. Reinhard Platzl. Planegg. Wolfgang Reicht (2010-12) Design Architect: Alexander Ott Project Architect: Wolfgang Reicht Design Team: Quirin Krumbholz. Lukas Allner. Debora Creel. Prix Project Partner: Paul Kath (2008-10). Ian Robertson. Markus Wings. Phillip Reiner. Bonn. P. P.R. Roof area: 28. Nam La-Chi. Model Building: Paul Hoszowski. P. Beijing. Francois Gandon. Logan Yuen. Vanessa Castro Vélez. China Planning: COOP HIMMELB(L)AU Wolf D.000 m² Gross Floor Area Conference Center: 91. Dalian. P. Silja Wiener. China Climatic Design: Prof.650 m² Footprint: 33. China. Liisi Salumaa. Arihan Senocak. Germany General Contractor: China Construction Eight Engineering Division. China CHRONOLOGY Competition: 03/2008 Start of Planning: 07/2008 Start of Construction: 11/2008 Completion: 09/2012 PROJECT DATA Site Area: 40. Keigo Fukugaki. P.000 m ² Façade Area: 30. Dalian. Anja Sorger. Wilfried Local Partners: DADRI Dalian Institute of Architecture Design and Research Co. Prix & Partner ZT GmbH Design Principal: Wolf D.R. Eva Wolf.R. Marc Werner. Ariane Marx. Shenzhen. Austria. Simon Diesendruck. China Structural Engineering: B+G Ingenieure. Hui-Cheng.R China Acoustics: Müller-BBM. Moritz Heimrath. Vienna.000 m² Building Height/Length/Width: 60 m / 220 m / 200 m Number of Floors: 8 . Thomas Hindelang. Maria Zagallo 3D Visualization: Isochrom. Taylor Clayton. Germany Stage Design: BSEDI Beijing Special Engineering Design and Research Institute.