Anything but “Conventional”: Designing Today’s Convention Centers

Anything but "Conventional" - Designing Today's Convention Centers
In the past, attending a convention typically looked like this… a main exhibit floor, a stage for a speaker, and some dedicated seminar areas. People would shuffle from generic room to generic room that gave no hint of the city the event was being held in. Sound boring? Today, conventions are meant to be social and stimulating environments, generating ideas and collaboration. The centers where they are held are being built to be more resourceful and flexible, where every space can be used for learning, connection, and community.  Here are some trends shaping today’s convention centers.

Harlingen Convention Center - Harlingen, TX

Harlingen Convention Center – Harlingen, TX

The convention center is becoming an extension of the destination. Visitors are looking for a boutique experience, wanting to get a feel for the culture of the city inside and outside the conference center halls. The BR&P designed Hilton Garden Inn and Convention Center in Harlingen, Texas, has unique elements of South Texas included in the design. “I like something that includes the local architecture,” says Harlingen City Commissioner Tudor Uhlhorn. “I like the tall arches and the wrought iron. I think it gives it a Spanish-Mexican flair.” Convention centers are also looking to take advantage of the environment. When you’re in the BR&P designed Element Hotel & Event Center, guests can look out and see beautiful views of the Berkshire mountains that surround the property.

Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center - Denton, TX Art Installation

Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center Lobby – Denton, TX

Besides the design of the building, décor can help bring a local flavor. In the Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center in Denton, TX, inspiration has been drawn from the local Denton art scene and the University of North Texas. For example, the lobby will include custom light fixtures made from musical instruments, and flexible seating spaces to allow for pop-up musical performances and art exhibitions. The BR&P designed Hilton Garden Inn Hotel & Convention Center in Manhattan, KS utilizes native stone, large expanses of glass, and design references to the Flint Hills region. Native Kansas crops are used as inspiration in accent materials and in lighting features.

Hilton Garden Inn Hotel & Convention Center - Manhattan, KS

Hilton Garden Inn Hotel & Convention Center – Manhattan, KS

Finally, convention centers are being built to be adaptable. Spaces are created to host a multitude of events with flexible seating options. Hallways are no longer about getting people from one room to another, but to create places to network and connect. The recently opened DoubleTree Hotel & Conference Center in downtown Evansville is already booked for multiple conventions for organizations such as the U.S. Gymnastic Association, Indiana Cities and Towns, General Baptist, and the Indiana Lions Club.

DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Evansville, IN

DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Evansville, IN

Looking to create an adaptable space? Call us at 417-865-6100 or visit www.brpae.com for more information.

Also in the March Newsletter:
BR&P Supports Tool Belts & Bow Ties
BR&P Designed Holiday Inn Express & Suites Wins Award