Kongu Convention Center was designed with the aim to provide world-class facilities to students who yearn for better socio-cultural interaction and high quality infrastructure, while keeping the cost of the whole construction to the minimum. Ar. Gurpreet Shah’s vision was to create an auditorium which could be used for other recreational purposes such that it is utilized all around the year. The basic idea was social upliftment of students of an education institute with nominal expenses in construction. With the aid of retractable seating, the auditorium could be converted to indoor sports courts. The building is made in sync with nature and surrounding landscaped area. The wings are connected by open public spaces. Thus, with limited artificial lighting and natural ventilation the building is made cost-effective without compromising on the quality.
Design and Form
Built on 23-acre site, Creative Group designed and planned the Kongu Convention Centre at Erode, Tamil Nadu which is one of the largest in India with a seating capacity of 4500 persons. Alternatively, it has indoor courts which are used as sports halls. The basic form of the auditorium has been derived from the Garuda (eagle in Hindu religion) in flight. The building’s body is projected longer and massive (resembling that of an eagle) while both the side wings, having a lesser volume with cut-outs for efficient light and ventilation, are used for outdoor public interaction spaces. It consists of a multi-purpose hall for indoor sports activities like badminton, table tennis and basketball. The backroom facilities of the auditorium also function as seminar rooms and rehearsal rooms. Additionally, facilities for conference halls, training center, guest rooms, offices and cafeteria are also provided.
The design was optimized beyond the requirements into a multi-purpose convention hall and the client reciprocated this idea with positivity. Executing the project on the established funding, the architects created a facility which could be pertinent and functional for all institutional activities. Hence, multiple functionalities were then incorporated into the building. The design was prepared keeping in view, the collective use of a large gathering space, enabling it to double up as a sports arena as and when required. The segmentation within spaces has been planned in an efficient manner to permit various activities simultaneously.
Planning and Structure
The convention hall has been placed at the site in such a manner that the pre-functional area and the main entrance translate into a saluting base to the athletic stadium in the front. Interactive seating spaces integrated with landscaped areas, act as a backdrop around the running track of the stadium and football ground. The main auditorium is flanked by 2 additional seating aisles which augment the capacity of the auditorium when required and in general acts as courts for indoor sports. When the building is not in use as an auditorium, it functions as an indoor sports complex for various sports activities throughout the year. This becomes possible with the help of a flexible seating arrangement which is not fixed to the floor in areas allotted for sports activities.
Steel and Innovation
RCC framed structure integrated with steel trusses envelope the roof of the convention hall. A network of primary, secondary and tertiary trusses enables large column free spaces of up to 50 meters. Double trusses have been used to span over the central auditorium. The wings (left and right) are primarily supported on the intermediate truss; provide access to the central spine without any hindrance. Box sections of 150mm x 150mm have been used in the roof trusses as well as the balcony girders. The balcony has the largest span seen in an auditorium of 30 m, which is also a heavy loading structure which accommodates 1500 people, out of the total 4500 people that the auditorium can accommodate. The box sections are also very flexible as they can take the desired shape or form as per the roof form. The girders in the balcony have a depth of 1200 mm. The use of steel box sections as opposed to girders in the roof is also an innovation seen for the first time in India, basically done to optimize cost.
Green and Sustainable
Weaving in all modern facilities and world class amenities in the convention centre, its ventilation, air-conditioning, acoustics and illumination are still focused upon. An efficient system of ventilation facilitates hot air to move up and escape through the clerestory windows. Additionally, fresh cool air is circulated around through ducted air cooling system. Light wells located on top of stairwells at the primary entrances infuse the circulation and pre-functional spaces with natural lighting throughout the day. The use of sun light, hollow blocks for the multi-purpose hall and grid pavers for car-parks aim to minimize the energy consumption of the campus. Ensuring optimum acoustic insulation, the convention hall is clad in cost-effective perforated gypsum boards to cut the reverberation time. Level 2 lighting has been provided as per international standards, especially for sports activities and national level competitions. Provision of stage lights and spot lights are also in accordance for national level performances.
“Less is more – brings richness in functionality for the multi-purpose convention centre.”
Under the guidance of Prof. (Ar.) Charanjit S. Shah and lead by Ar. Gurpreet S. Shah, this gigantic convention centre is designed to lend an iconic character to Kongu Engineering Campus.