West China International Expo City

The designers entered a competition to design the convention and expo center as a key component of a new master planned district in Chengdu, China. The primary features of the project include: exhibit halls for temporary exhibit events and their associated support/circulation spaces, an outdoor exhibit plaza, an opening ceremony plaza on the south side, and underground parking with 3,500 spaces.

The eight exhibit halls are arranged in a V formation, embracing an expansive plaza that opens toward the Tianfu Central Park to the northwest. Each hall is organized around a service court and is divisible into two smaller halls.

Design Challenge

The Expo City center is a massive structure, with nearly 2 million sf of exhibit halls and 5 million sf total. A challenge of working on such a large scale is developing ways to integrate it into the surroundings rather than have it feel like big negative space. As part of a master plan for a new city, the design team took careful measure to geometrically align the edges of the building to conform to the city grid as well as gesturally acknowledge the neighboring lake as the heart of the new district.

Physical Context

Because this project is part of a larger, new master planned city, designing with regards to the surrounding physical context was priority from day one. The architecture aligns with the street and acknowledges the lake. The undulating roof is reminiscent of the rolling countryside, and softens the edges between nature and the built environment. Windows and skylights allow for ample natural light and awareness of the environment throughout the building.