The center of the complex is taken up by the largest hall with about 4,800 square meters on the ground floor. This multifunctional hall, which has an internal height of 12 meters and which is surrounded by a functional ring for technical installations, interpreters and management, is equipped with full height sliding partition walls so that it can be divided up into several spaces of different sizes. The overall capacity of 4,700 guests can be divided up into many different combinations of smaller conference and exhibition spaces. The hall benefits from natural lighting via pyramid-shaped roof lights.
A u-shaped glazed foyer surrounds this hall and also connects with the other areas of the Palacongressi. This generous light-flooded area with its glazed roof and an overall height of twelve meters serves as a circulation area providing access to the various halls as well as a foyer with congress-related exhibitions.
The northern part on the ground floor accommodates 600- and 300-person halls which can be subdivided, the main kitchens and a separate foyer. The upper floor contains a hall with fixed tiered seating for 300 persons and additional halls for 90 to 120 delegates.
The southern part is accessed via a glass-covered inner courtyard which can also be used for exhibitions. Similar to the northern part, this area includes medium sized conference halls with their own foyer on the ground floor and, on the upper floor, 14 smaller conference rooms for 40 to 120 persons, as well as meeting rooms.
The main entrance to the Palacongressi is situated at the eastern park and is characterized by the significant and conspicuous “conchiglia” shell shape. Above it rises the semi-circular amphitheater which, with its distinct shape, is a reminder of the ancient Roman theater of Rimini. The semi-circular hall, with tiered seating for more than 1,600 persons, can be divided in the middle and features a permanent stage. All these functional areas include their own ancillary rooms such as cloakrooms and catering facilities.
Beneath the main entrance are the central cloakrooms which are accessed via the rotunda and somewhat spiral- ling staircases. The fountain in the middle of the rotunda and in the center beneath the amphitheater has “La Perla” in its center, Europe’s largest stone sphere, which turns on a film of water.
The Palacongressi di Rimini picks up on the local pattern language – the colors of the wet and dry Adriatic beaches, the turquoise blue and greenish water of the Adriatic. The shape of the amphitheater reflects that of a “conchiglia” a local name for the seashell with a pearl at its center.
The conference center, which is the largest in Italy, follows an innovative concept in that it combines conferences with exhibitions; at the same time it is also an urban design pilot project for a cultural center which has been planned on the other side of the road and which includes a concert hall by Mario Botta.
The site of the former exhibition venue has been turned into a green central area with a lake that extends beneath the new bridge, along the extended park and links up with the city center.
Photo credits: Gmp Architekten, Marcus Bredt