Designed by German architects GMP Studio, the Rimini Convention Centre is one of the largest convention centres in Italy. It is also one of the most eco-sustainable buildings in the country with spectacular timber flooring made from American black cherry. Spread over 38,000 m2, the new €117 million (including land costs) centre has three separate entrances to two different conference and exhibition spaces seating 9,300.
The Convention Centre was conceived as a functional modular design to allow it to host numerous events simultaneously. The finished centre is made up of two main spaces - a large 4,000 m2 entrance foyer leading to a striking ‘oyster-shell’ amphitheatre seating 1,600 people, and a main conference hall with 4,700 seats.
The real organic beauty of the centre is to be found inside with clean and contemporary American black cherry flooring.
After dismissing an original idea to use ‘industrial’ flooring made from recycled wood, architect Volkwin Marg selected American black cherry due to its warmer, more refined and eye-catching qualities. The flooring was installed by hand in more than forty rooms.
In the large ‘oyster-shell’ amphitheatre the design team had to resolve the major challenge of adrreessing the difference in height between the prefabricated structural elements of the shell and the finished floor. The solution was to produce steel frame members that were contoured and welded, using a numerically controlled process, so that the exact heights could be guaranteed for the different tiers. These frame members were then fixed to the load bearing under-structure inside the shell to provide anchors for the installation of the horizontal and vertical elements.
The steps were another challenge, with over 400 intermediate risers. These had to be perfectly in line with the rest of the interior, and like the rest of the flooring, were perfected using a cutting edge CAD-CAM process.
Alongside the use of sustainable timber, the building includes a raft of other green measures including a rainwater harvesting system to irrigate the landscape areas, installation of energy efficient condensation boilers and lighting controls and widespread use of eco-building materials. The redevelopment of the area also saw the creation of a ‘green spoke’ pedestrian and bicycle route, from the Convention Centre, to the historical centre of Rimini and the marina.