After nearly two decades of designing, planning, and construction, Rome-based architecture firm Fuksas‘s $262 million Rome-EUR Convention Center is finally complete, along with an adjacent hotel. Dubbed the “Cloud” due to a suspended white curvaceous volume that dominates the 592,000-square-foot space and appears to loom over the concourse, the convention center has been in the making for some 18 years with design work starting in 1998.

Now, though, the building is fully open and accessible to the public. It’s located in the EUR area of Rome—an area known as being a business and residential district. Encasing the “Cloud” is what Fuksas call the “Theca.” The steel structure uses a double-glass facade to expose the cloud to passersby and give the white volume visual precedence. “The ‘Cloud’ represents the heart of the project. Its construction within the ‘box’ of the Theca underlines the juxtaposition between a free spatial articulation, without rules, and a geometrically defined shape,” described Fuksas on their website. “The Cloud is the distinctive architectural element of the project: The steel rib structure… provides an extraordinary visual effect, and is covered by a 15,000-square-meter transparent curtain.”

(Courtesy Moreno Maggi)

Inside the deceptively expansive cloud. (Courtesy Moreno Maggi)

Inside, visitors can access numerous exhibition spaces and auditoriums, part of a flexible space that boasts a seated capacity of nearly 9,000. Included within this is a grand 1,760-seat auditorium (found toward the Cloud’s rear) that also offers snack points and support services. Meanwhile, large conference rooms totaling 6,500 seats can also be found within the center.

(Courtesy Moreno Maggi)

(Courtesy Moreno Maggi)

The “Cloud” and “Theca” are two of three elements that “define” the scheme. The third is the “Blade”—a slender 441-room hotel that lies next to the convention center. Fuksas sees it as being an “independent and autonomous structure.” All in all, the scheme is touted to make between $330-440 million-a-year, quickly recouping its construction costs. A climate-control system will also aid the scheme’s finances in terms of energy usage: Variable flow air conditioning mediates homogenous gains in rooms prone to crowding and photovoltaic elements facilitate the on-site production of electricity.

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