The Spokane Convention Center Completion project represents the final piece of the puzzle in the transformation of the city’s downtown waterfront, adding a new exhibition hall, ballroom, and meeting spaces. Designed to accommodate a wide range of event types, these spaces interact closely with the Centennial Trail, a year-round, highly active pedestrian and cyclist trail along the Spokane River. This direct riverfront connection creates a unique experience for delegates and visitors, while also engaging local urban life in the activity of the convention center, achieving a sense of transparency and inclusion. Within the transparent façade, the new ballroom and meeting rooms are expressed in a wood wall identity, reinforcing connections with the natural context.
Site and Program
The convention center is part of the sprawling Riverfront Park, built for the 1974 World’s Fair with the goal of integrating nature into the heart of the city. Pedestrian paths run throughout the site, including a footbridge to the recreational attractions of Canada Island, and the heavily used Centennial Trail which connects the park with university campuses to the east.
The addition of 90,000 sf of exhibition hall, ballroom, meeting room, and support space ties the original convention center facility together with recent stand-alone expansions, creating architectural continuity and fluid connections between program elements. The project also includes restoration and rehabilitation of the trail and riverbank, as well as exterior and interior public art, with an emphasis on memorable experiences for delegates and the general public.
Rather than merely offering views of the site’s natural beauty, the facility's design gives users multiple opportunities to step outdoors and become immersed in the climate, sounds, and enriching energy of the Spokane River front. Multiple outdoor terraces step down to the trail level with varying degrees of access to the public realm depending on function. These include a set of terraced seating steps at the western end of the Centennial Terrace, serving as an informal seating platform for events, people watching, or small gatherings. At the terrace's eastern end, a landscaped “hill climb” connects the trail to the Division Street Bridge for additional views and access. The Centennial Ballroom features its own dedicated outdoor terrace that allows the indoor function space to extend out into the riverfront.
Interior spaces are designed to be flexible in size, configuration, and the types of events they can host. The ballroom can be set up in five sizes ranging from 2,000sf – 15,000sf, with seven possible configurations, and sub-dividable to allow up to 4 concurrent events. The exhibition hall geometry accommodates traditional booth layouts as well as the capacity to host sporting events, including basketball and volleyball.