of the world’s most extraordinary convention and exhibition venue expansions
is now midway to completion in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC)
is in the midst of its second expansion which totals 520,000 sq. ft. in
gross floor area. It will provide the HKCEC with an additional 208,000 sq.
ft. of rentable space as well as space for two additional restaurants and a
new 10,000 sq. ft. executive meeting suite.
Unique to this nearly USD 200 million expansion
planning was the requirement to design the structure to span 285 ft. across
a water canal without supporting columns below extending to the seabed. The
water canal has to be maintained to accommodate a future underwater addition
to Hong Kong’s MTR (Mass Transit Railway) and a road tunnel to provide a
by-pass around the harbour’s high density traffic area in the vicinity of
Also passing underneath the expansion will be two existing active roadways
on each side of the canal which are at ground level. Further, there are
three major levels of the expansion, two of which are major exhibition hall
extensions of 78,000 sq. ft. each. Above these halls will be an additional
67,000 sq. ft. of multi-purpose exhibition and meeting space. The expansion
will create a seamless grand exhibition and convention venue that will
include a total of 990,000 sq. ft. of rentable space at the time of its
opening in April 2009.
Another unique feature of the expansion is the fact
that a temporary enclosed passageway has been maintained through the
construction area throughout the expansion. This enclosure replaced the
passageway (the “Atrium”) that had connected HKCEC’s Phase 1 which opened in
1988 and its first expansion which opened in 1997 just in time to host Hong
Kong’s ceremonies commemorating its return of sovereignty to China. The
temporary passageway must be repositioned on occasion during
the expansion progress to accommodate the demolition of the Atrium and
construction of the new exhibition structure replacing the Atrium. The HKCEC
averages five separate events every day of the year.
Cliff Wallace, HKCEC Managing Director, said, “In my 36
years of public assembly venue management and consultation, I have
experienced no greater challenge in keeping a venue fully operational
considering that our guests attending events must continually transition the
expansion project within and through its structure. Probably, this could
only occur in Hong Kong!”
The expansion includes 24,000 tons of steel and is
supported by only five columns on one side of the water canal and six
columns on the other. The columns are each constructed atop of caissons
extending approximately 120 ft to the seabed below water level. The primary
load of the structure and its contents actually hang from two major arches
and three major roof trusses which extend the 285 ft. between and are
supported by these columns. The distance from the water (Principal Datum) to
the top of the arches is 236 ft. The steel structure of the expansion is
being erected from the top down.