The site is downtown in a metropolitan region of two million people. As part of a larger urban planning effort, the project bridges over a 17-lane interstate freeway, connecting to the existing convention center on the north and extending a city block south of the freeway span.
The intent was to create a civic place with a distinct memorable character. The building’s form responds to the original exhibition hall’s robust character and is a contextual effort to complement the sculptural forms of a nearby theater and arena.
Principle building facades are composed of a column system carrying sunscreens and a horizontal canopy, set in front of a curtain wall. The exterior’s crisp geometry is a restrained prelude to a fluid decorative motif of the interior. Within the space, sculptural form, reflection and pattern are varied references to water and connect the space with the city, which is located at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers and known as the “City of Fountains”. Light flowing into the ballroom through a translucent stretched membrane varies throughout the day and connects occupants with the outside. The clerestory light can also be blacked-out or color-animated to achieve dramatic effects.