Dalian International Conference Center / Coop Himmelb(l)au

ArtchitectureConference CenterCultural
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  • Architects: Coop Himmelb(l)au
  • Area : 117650 m²
  • Year : 2012
  • Photographs :Duccio Malagamba
  • Manufacturers :  Hunter Douglas
  • Lighting Design : a•g Licht, Wilfried Kramb
  • Structural Engineering : B+G Ingenieure Bollinger + Grohmann GmbH, DADRI Dalian Institute of Architecture Design and Research Co. LTD, Dalian, Bollinger + Grohmann, P.R China
  • General Contractor : China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp. Ltd.
  • Acoustics : Müller-BBM GmbH, Planegg, Eckard Mommerz
  • 3 D Visualization : Isochrom, Jens Mehlan & Jörg Hugo
  • Local Partners : UD Studio, J&A Interior Design, DADRI Dalian Institute of Architecture Design and Research Co. LTD
  • Stage Design : BSEDI Beijing Special Engineering Design and Research Institute
  • Audio & Video : Film & TV Design and Research Institute, CRFTG Radio
  • Climatic Design : Brian Cody
  • Hvac, Sprinkler : Reinhold A. Bacher, DADRI Dalian Institute of Architecture Design and Research Co. LTD
  • Façade : Meinhardt Facade Technology Ltd. Beijing Branch Office, Beijing, P.R. China
  • Client : Dalian Municipal People’s Government, P.R. China
  • Design Principal : Wolf D. Prix
  • Project Partner : Paul Kath, Wolfgang Reicht
  • Project Architect : Wolfgang Reicht
  • Design Architect : Alexander Ott
  • Design Team : Quirin Krumbholz, Eva Wolf, Victoria Coaloa
  • Project Team : Nico Boyer, Liisi Salumaa, Anja Sorger, Vanessa Castro Vélez, Lei Feng, Reinhard Hacker, Jan Brosch, Veronika Janovska, Manfred Yuen, Matthias Niemeyer, Matt Kirkham, Peter Rose, Markus Wings, Ariane Marx, Wendy Fok, Reinhard Platzl, Debora Creel, Hui-Cheng, Jessie Chen, Simon Diesendruck, Yue Chen, Thomas Hindelang, Pola Dietrich, Moritz Keitel, Ian Robertson, Keigo Fukugaki, Gaspar Gonzalez Melero, Giacomo Tinari, Alice Gong
  • Model Building : Nam La-Chi, Paul Hoszowski, Taylor Clayton, Matthias Bornhofer, Katsyua Arai, Zhu Juankang, Lukas Allner, Phillip Reiner, Moritz Heinrath, Olivia Wimmer, Silja Wiener, Katrin Ertle, Maria Zagallo, Logan Yuen, André Nakonz, Arihan Senocak, Rashmi Jois, Sachin Thorat, Marc Werner
  • Facade : Meinhardt Facade Technology
  • City : Dalian
  • Country : China


The building has both to reflect the promising modern future of Dalian and its tradition as an important port, trade, industry and tourism city. The formal language of the project combines and merges the rational structure and organization of its modern conference center typology with the floating spaces of modernist architecture.

Dalian is an important seaport, industrial, trade, and tourism center, located in the southernmost part of the Liaodong Peninsula in the Chinese Liaoning Province.

The city is currently undergoing a wave of transformation on coastal brownfield and reclaimed land which will entirely change the city’s face within the next decade.

The key developments are:

  • Dislocation of container port away from the dense city area
  • Establishment of international port for cruise ships
  • New development of a „CBD – Central Business District“ on reclaimed land
  • Bridge over the sea to connect with the special economic zone
Building Structure Diagrams 01
Building Structure Diagrams 

The urban design task of the Dalian International Conference Center is to create an instantly recognizable landmark at the terminal point of the future extension of the main city axis. As its focal point the building will be anchored in the mental landscape of the population and the international community.

Dalian International Conference Center – Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba

The footprint of the building on the site is therefore arranged in accordance with the orientation of the two major urban axis which merge in front of the building.

The cantilevering conference spaces that penetrate the facades create a spatially multifaceted building volume and differentiate the close surroundings.


The various theaters and conference spaces are covered by a cone-shaped roof screen. Through controlled daylight input good spatial orientation for the visitors and atmospheric variety is assured.

Dalian International Conference Center - Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba
Dalian International Conference Center – Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba

The project combines the following functions within one hybrid building with synergetic effects of functionality and spatial richness.

  • Conference Center
  • Theater and Opera House
  • Exhibition Center
  • Basement with Parking, Delivery and Disposal
Dalian International Conference Center - Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba
Dalian International Conference Center – Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba

A public zone at ground level allows for differentiating accessibility for the different groups of users. The actual performance and conference spaces are situated at +15,30 m above the entrance hall. The grand theater, with a capacity of 1.600 seats and a stage tower, and the directly adjacent flexible conference hall of 2.500 seats, are positioned at the core of the building.

Dalian International Conference Center - Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba
Dalian International Conference Center – Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba

With this arrangement the main stage can be used for the classical theater auditorium as well as for the flexible multipurpose hall. The main auditorium is additionally equipped with backstage areas like in traditional theaters and opera houses. This scheme is appropriate to broaden the range of options for the use of this space: from convention, musical, theater even up to classical opera, with very little additional investment.

Dalian International Conference Center - Coop Himmelb(l)au3
Dalian International Conference Center – Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba

The smaller conference spaces are arranged like pearls around this core, providing very short connections between the different areas, thus saving time while changing between the different units. Most conference rooms and the circulation areas have direct daylight from above.

Through this open and fluid arrangement the theater and conference spaces on the main level establish a kind of urban structure with “squares” and “street spaces”. These identifiable “addresses” facilitate user orientation within the building. Thus the informal meeting places, as well as chill-out and catering zones, and in between the halls, gardens with view connection to outside are provided as required for modern conference utilization.

Level 00 Plan
Level 00 Plan

The access to the basement parking garage, truck delivery and waste disposal is located at the southwest side of the site, thus freeing the front driveway to the entrances from transit traffic. The main entrance from the sea side corresponds to the future developments, including the connection to the future cruise terminal.

Technical, Climatic and Environmental Concept

The focus of the architectural design and project development lies on technology, construction and their interplay. The technical systems fulfil the tasks required for the spatial use of the building automatically, invisibly and silently

Climate Design Diagram 

With the Dalian International Dalian Conference Center, these systems work like a hybrid city within a building. For the technical infrastructure of the building this means, that we have to consider a huge amount of people circulating inside the building at the same time, who expect high standards in circulation and comfort as well as a state of the art building with respect to high flexibility, low energy consumption and low use of natural resources.

Technical areas in the basement supply infrastructure within a rectangular grid, mainly inside the vertical cores. In particularly the conference zone has to be provided with a sufficient amount of air in order to maintain a high level of thermal and acoustical comfort. Therefore the conditioned air will be silently injected into the rooms via an inflated double flooring underneath the seating. Air blowout units inside the stairs will ensure consistent air distribution. Due to the thermal uplift, the heat of the people ascends to the ceiling and is extracted by suction.

Dalian International Conference Center - Coop Himmelb(l)au3
Dalian International Conference Center – Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba

One of the major tasks of sustainable architecture is the minimisation of energy consumption. A fundamental contribution is to avoid considerable fluctuations in demands during the course of the day. Therefore it is essential to integrate the natural resources of the environment like:

Climate Design Diagram
Climate Design Diagram


  • Use the thermal energy of seawater with heat pumps for cooling in summer and heating in winter
  • General use of low temperature systems for heating in combination with activation of the concrete core as thermal mass in order to keep the building on constant temperature
  • Natural ventilation of the huge air volumes within the building allows for minimization of the mechanical apparatus for ventilation heating and cooling. The atrium is conceived as a solar heated, naturally ventilated sub climatic area.
  • In the large volume individual areas can be treated separately by additional measures such as displacement ventilation
  • A high degree of daylight use is aspired both for its positive psychological effect and for minimizing the power consumption for artificial lighting
  • Energy production with solar energy panels integrated into the shape of the building.

Structural Concept

The structural concept is based on a sandwich structure composed of 2 elements: the “table” and the roof.

Roof Structure Axon
Roof Structure Axon

Both elements are steel space frames with depths ranging between 5 and 8 meters.

The whole structure is elevated 7 meters above ground level and is supported by 14 vertical composite steel and concrete cores.

Dalian International Conference Center - Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba
Dalian International Conference Center – Coop Himmelb(l)au © Duccio Malagamba

A doubly ruled façade structure connects the two layers of table and roof, creating a load-bearing shell structure.

The application of new design and simulation techniques, the knowledge of local shipbuilders to bend massive steel plates, and the consumption of more than 40,000 tons of steel enables breathtaking spans of over 85 meters and cantilevering of over 40 meters.

Project gallery

Plan, view, section, diagram and model of the project

Location : Asia, • China
Type : • Conference centres

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