Henning Larsen Architects
Location: Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
Project Team: Louis Becker, Ulrik Raysse (Design Manager), Niels Edeltoft (Project Manager), Eric Tan, Tomasz Dabrowski and Peter Krogtoft (3D)
Photographer: Henning Larsen Architects
Gross floor area: 16,000 m2
Type of assignment: Winner of invited, international competition
Calabar, the capital of the Cross River State situated by the scenic river delta at the outfall of the Calabar River Channel, is already hosting numerous conferences and, with the completion of the new Conference Center, the city hopes to attract even more international meetings and tourists.
The Cross River State has a population of around three million people of which almost half live in the capital of Calabar. Located in the southeastern part of Nigeria bordering Cameroun, the multi-functional and flexible building will offer the citizens of Calabar a new cultural centre that will provide the setting for concerts, film festivals and exhibitions.
The Calabar International Conference Centre consists of four adjoining, sculptural volumes. The building is situated on top of a hill and has a panoramic view from the foyer. On the one side, the location on the middle of the hill creates a natural amphitheatre with a room for several thousand people. On the other side, you have a spectacular view of the river delta, and you can go to and from the Centre through a park on the hill. The walk through the park creates contact to nature and offers changing views of the characteristic shape of the Centre.
The volumes are cast in concrete and appear as sharply cut. The main hall can be opened up towards the outdoor amphitheatre so the technical installations of the stage can also be used in connection with outdoor events. The flexible building design allows for several types of events to take place at the same time.
The Calabar International Conference Centre uses passive means of sustainability to achieve a low energy consumption. As far possible, the Centre will be built of local materials to minimise the environmental impact and avoid long transport.
Construction of Calabar International Convention Centre began in 2012, after a design bid won by renowned Danish architects, Henning Larsen, and is almost 60% complete. Buildings are expected to be ready for selected events by the end of this year, with the first commercial events set to commence in
late February 2015. The Calabar International Conference Centre will be able to accommodate international congresses, corporate conventions, government retreats and other type of meetings, with delegates numbers from as few as 10 to as many as 2,000 for plenary sessions. The total capacity of the centre exceeds 5,000 seats in 21 different venues and the Centre’s spacious foyers will provide delegates with spectacular views of the Calabar River and its natural environment.
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