Exhibition centers serve as an influential platform for industry experts, companies, professionals, business firms to come together and exchange information and build strong connections and long-lasting business relationships. Choosing the exhibition center, the kind of space and design, is of utmost importance in order to maximize the benefits of the business, as exhibition provides an ideal opportunity to showcase products and services to a highly targeted audience and play a vital role in the financial model which underpins their success. 

This article is about the 10 architecture firms which design exhibitions centers around the world that are best known for their innovative designs and have their names marked in the world. As the best trade show venues. 

1. Aedas | Exhibition Centers

The firm believes that great design can be delivered by designers having a deep social and cultural understanding of the communities they are designing for. They believe in providing world-class design solutions. 

Notable Works:

This center is designed as an interactive center for exhibition with fully immersive space. The building is built on a steel foundation which is specially engineered as a portable apparatus that can be relocated to an adjacent site later. This unique pavilion is designed for adaptive reuse.  


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LAND Experience Center © archdaily.com
10 Firms designing innovative exhibition centres around the world - Sheet2
LAND Experience Center © Aedas.com
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LAND Experience Center © Aedas.com                      

The building consists of an exhibition hall, administration office, multipurpose room, and a separate display wing. The sculpted form is derived from the undulating topography of the locality, reflecting the duality and dynamics of Xi’an city. 

This biggest exhibition center in the city is a huge complex hailed as a symbol of progress and self-reliance in modern India. Raj Rewal devised innovative ways to maximize resources in times of financial constraint and created an iconic hall of nations.

Pragati Maidan, an icon of independent India, located in close vicinity of historic India Gate approached by the Purana Qila road, a flagship project of itpo ministry of commerce, the government of India, was established in India in 1951 and has since been the epicenter of exhibitions in the city. 

The new convention center is designed as an elliptical and sloping built form with a large landscaped public plaza for the public congregation. Its Sloped glass facade reflecting the India gate is approached by a grand landscape stepped podium. The raised form creates a grand 3000 ft amphitheater for a rich cultural evening.

The redevelopment plan of the 130-acre Pragati maidan was aimed at making it the biggest exhibition center of the country by increasing the exhibition space and for the creation of a modern Convention Center with a seating capacity of 7,000 persons. 

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Pragati Maidan © architecturaldigest.in
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Pragati Maidan © architecturaldigest.in

The new concept has deep cultural roots. The spirit of outdoor spaces is kept alive through plazas, pergolas, and trellises. 

There are shaded walkways about 12 meters wide that connect each building. The feeling of the verandah is created just as one enters the exhibition space. Hence in the whole building, there is a transition from yesteryear mela grounds to a contemporary exhibition hall.

2. Foster + Partners

Notable Works:

  • Mobility Pavilion Expo 2020, Dubai: 
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Mobility Pavilion © Tekla.com

This pavilion features the world’s largest passenger lift, which will transport 160+ people at a time. The concept of the design, ie, the three petal-shaped forms are centrally located in the masterplan and is connected to the central Al Wasl Plaza, set to be the next iconic structure of Dubai. Each petal indicates the theme of the district of the country. 

The thematic District also includes a variety of performance spaces, innovation galleries and art installations, and outdoor gardens. Each Thematic District can be distinguished by colors and shapes giving them distinct characteristics. For eg. The Sustainability District uses circles and green shades; the Mobility District uses triangles and blue (for water or movement), and the Opportunity District is based around squares and warm sand color. The shapes have roots in Islamic geometry. (CONSTRUCTION BUSINESS NEWS CBNME.COM)

3. Gensler

The firm strives to create a culture of design innovation by encouraging experimentation to promote diverse thinking which in turn brings out new ideas into their designs. They are known for their sustainable leadership in the architecture industry.

Notable Works:

  • Meixi Lake Exhibition Center- Changsha, China  
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Meixi Lake Exhibition Center © Gensler.com
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Meixi Lake Exhibition Center © Gensler.com

This new exhibition center is anticipated to become an international tourist destination for the growing city of Changsha. The firm has tried to incorporate the visual aspects of the site’s surrounding topography, and seamlessly assimilating it with the neighboring Meixi Lake. The dynamic interplay between nature’s fluid and solid forms are integrated with broader concepts of growth in the site’s design. 

Convention spaces will be housed in two elegant, wing-shaped structures, each with a sloping green roof connecting to the natural scenery, in a way reducing the building’s energy use. The combination of materials like glass, zinc, and wood cladding in the facade as well creates a highly versatile and unique landmark alongside the Changsha River in the city.

London 2050 Developing Exhibition © Gensler.com

The Developing City exhibition concept was based around a 360-degree fully immersive experience that transported visitors into the center of five conceptual spaces of future London. This would in turn encourage visitors to rethink how the city of London might look and function in the year 2050. The content of the exhibition will be captured through an application that visitors could download instantly and walking tours will be devised throughout the city, allowing users to map the future vision against present-day London.

4. Diamond Schmitt architects

Notable Works:

  • Ryerson Image Centre
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Ryerson Image Centre © dsai.ca

The inspiration for the design was taken from the photographic arts like the light as an anthem to embed in the renovated and expanded building. All four sides of the upper floor are encircled with a double-skin glass façade and have a concealed LED lighting system. A dynamic display of multi-colored lights at night glows in separate panels, making the building transform into a work of art.

5. HOK | Exhibition Centers

HOK designs spaces that respond to the needs of people and the environment. The root themselves in technical excellence, driven by imagination and focused on a solitary goal: to deliver solutions that inspire clients and communities. HOK is one of the firms which creates exceptional convention centers for operators and investors worldwide. 

Notable Works:

  • Kentucky International Convention Center (Louisville, Kentucky)                                       
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Kentucky International Convention Center © hok.com

The design for the new Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) highlights its civic role and presence in downtown Louisville and celebrates its central location.                 

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Kentucky International Convention Center © hok.com

The center includes more than 200,000 square feet of exhibit space. A distinctive colonnade and canopy unify existing and new elements. A new entryway acts as an inviting front porch for the city. Though the convention centers tend to be introverted buildings, for Hok they wanted to create an urban extrovert building here, responding to its surroundings. By using circulation paths, the architect has tried to connect visitors to their surroundings.

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Hampton Roads Convention Center © hok.com

The inspiration for the design of this conference and events space is drawn from the community’s nautical roots, which date back to the early 1600s. The south-facing entrance of the building is spanned over with a white tensile structure resembling sails spans. The fabric sheathing provides shading and minimizes solar heat gain in the summer while still allowing daylighting and views. At night gets lit up gloomily inviting visitors.

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Hampton Roads Convention Center © hok.com

HOK’s design blends indoors and out and provides a partial enclosure for outdoor events. The architect has focussed on minimizing circulation space and focusing more expensive detailing and materials in the front of the building and in public spaces.

6. Populous

A well-known group for the convention industry, the Populous group is based in the USA and is famous for the design convergence of beauty, function, urban integration, and sustainability. The designs maximize operational efficiencies and they have designed 55 convention centers to date.

Notable Works:

  • Qatar National Convention Centre                                                  
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Qatar National Convention Centre © populous.com
  • Los Angeles Convention Center LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA                                               
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Los Angeles Convention Center © populous.com
  • ICC Sydney SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA                                                        
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ICC Sydney © populous.com

7. Skidmore Owings and Merrill

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), is known for some of the world’s most technically and environmentally advanced buildings and significant public spaces. 

Notable Works:

8. Hong- Kong Convention and Exhibition Center (architect Larry Oltmanns)

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Hong Kong Convention Center © som.com

The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre is surrounded by Victoria Harbor on three sides, occupying a highly visible location in this growing city. The extension to the building was taken up by SOM and it eventually became a prototype for convention center design which today remains an important landmark.

The distinctive roof, whose undulating, wing-like forms create an iconic image for Hong Kong is the principal design element. The roof has a 75-foot-high vaulted ceiling above the convention hall, with column-free spans of 80 meters. The extension has various facilities like three exhibition halls, two theaters, 52 meeting rooms, seven restaurants, and various support facilities. An array of public spaces surrounding the base of the building engages the center with its bustling urban setting.

  • Zhongshan Expo Center
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Zhongshan Expo Center © som.com

The design of this building was derived from the famous rolling hills of Zhongshan, as well as from the structure of ancient lamellar Chinese armor. A continuous undulating aluminum and steel roof shelters an entire complex. Solar collectors which are built into the louvered roof system, generate enough energy to power the building’s primary lighting systems. 

8. HHF

Notable Works:

  • Swiss Pavilion 2020, Dubai:
Swiss Pavilion ©hhf.ch

This structure highlights large-scale sustainable design concepts. The project makes a bold architectural statement with its exterior façade, which is inspired by Bedouin tents and built by combining scaffolding elements and textiles. The interior of the pavilion acts to promote the country’s landscapes, highlighting its traditional values and showcasing Swiss solutions for a sustainable future through a virtual hike. 

Swiss Pavilion © hhf.ch

Five cylindrical building volumes of different diameters in plan accommodate the spatial programs like exhibition, a shop and café, a panoramic restaurant, a meditative green space, and the VIP area with rooftop terrace. On the pavilion ground, they are positioned as a loose ensemble that is freely accessible from all sides. The firm HHF developed an idea to create a spatial and visual-acoustic experience in the form of an open interactive landscape.

9. RMJM architects

Notable Works:

  • Beijing Convention Center:

The China National Convention Center is located in the Beijing Olympic Park (Zone B) and has a total Gross Floor Area (GFA) of 270,000 square meters. The building facade has a curve that symbolizes a bridge that connects cultures and knowledge from around the world. This venue is used for hosting international conferences and exhibitions.

Beijing Convention Center ©rmjm.com

This project was awarded an ‘Outstanding Survey and Design Prize’, a ‘Construction Innovation Prize’, and a ‘Scientific Innovation Prize’ for Olympic engineering projects. In addition to this, it also received ‘Great Wall Cup Gold – Structure’ and ‘Great Wall Cup Gold – Architectural’ awards – the highest awards in engineering in China.

10. Arcplus | Exhibition Centers

Notable Works:

National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai):                                                 

National Exhibition and Convention Center © arcplus.com

The four leaves highlight the event’s strength of diversity and unity of purpose. Just like Shanghai is world-famous for its mix of traditional Chinese and global culture, the main venue for the China International Import Expo also offers participants a similar feel. After entering the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), white magnolias, the city flower of Shanghai, are on prominent display as well as traditional Chinese ceilings, wooden sculptures, gardens in the traditional style, and the CIIE’s mascot Jinbao, a giant panda wearing a scarf, adds a welcoming touch.

“The convention center has blended new and modern Chinese features,” said Fu Haicong, chief architect of the East China Architectural Design& Research Institute, a unit of leading Chinese architecture firm Arcplus Group responsible for the center’s design. The institute also designed one of the artificial islands that connect the world’s longest sea bridge, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge that opened in late October. (arcplus.com)


Diksha is an architecture graduate from Nirma University, 2020. Being an avid traveler, she has always tried to connect the city's culture with architecture. She is a keen observer, finds inspiration from unexplored places and believes that true essence of architecture lies in its execution (form generation) and user experience.