Greater Columbus Convention Center Interior Renovation and Expansion

Columbus, Ohio

Project Size:

New area: 110,000 square feetRenovated area: 800,000 square feet

Project Status:

Completed 2017

Associate Architect:

Schooley Caldwell Associates

Selected Awards

Vision
The Greater Columbus Convention Center Expansion and Renovation breathes new life into this emblematic civic complex. Since the original convention center was constructed in 1993, downtown Columbus has undergone a dramatic transformation. The new expansion reflects this growth, recalibrating the experience of the facility to the current urban fabric of the city—engaging the pedestrian activity and public spaces of downtown, as well as the thriving Short North mixed-use neighborhood.

Site and Program
The project adds 137,000-square-feet of new space and renovates 800,000-square-feet of the existing structure to complete the final build-out of a multi-building complex. A series of pre-function spaces along the main concourse, which runs the full 15-acre extent of the north and south buildings, create a sequence of public spaces that activate the architectural experience with the social energy of the event. These nodes are defined by luminous glass walls and openings to the sky and street—providing internal daylight while further embellishing the building’s external presence as a prominent civic venue. Upgraded systems throughout the building include wall coverings, ceilings, carpeting, social seating, way finding, digital technology, sound systems and lighting.

Design
Interior spaces are reimagined in response to today’s convention market with enhanced flexibility to accommodate a wide range of events. The renovation renews the original building’s composition of spatial experience, enlivening the distinctive, multi-layered finishes through the use of color and light. Sculptural lighting with custom color configurations animate the ceilings of the two multi-purpose ballrooms, enabling the interior expression to be choreographed to the unique visual characteristics of each event, and complementing the theatricality of the existing Battelle Grand Ballroom, which LMN renovated in 2010.   

The convention center’s prominent new glazed civic entry embodies the urban goals of its transformation. Areas of glass reveal the activity happening inside the building to the outside world, most notably where the transparent pavilion meets the exterior plaza. This transparency continues throughout the building with a new entry to the main exhibit hall and windows in the meeting rooms. Designed to serve visitors and the surrounding downtown environment, the project’s success is as much about how it engages the street as what happens inside.