Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects
and A.I Design s.r.o.

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Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

A ring of mesh thorns crowns the roof of this convention centre in Zlín, Czech Republic, by London studio Eva Jiricna Architects and Prague architects A.I Design s.r.o.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

The centre is situated beside the University Library at the heart of a valley, so the roof is entirely visible to approaching visitors.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Covered in metallic mesh, the triangular roof structures conceal smoke outlets, air conditioning and other service vents that would otherwise be visible from above whilst providing support for the external walls.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Glass blocks fill a series of zig-zagging screens below the fins and are illuminated with colour by night.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

A multi-purpose auditorium at the centre of the oval-shaped building provides a venue for concerts, theatre, orchestra, conferences and exhibitions.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Glass butterflies decorate the purple ceiling and furniture can be stored below the floor.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

A lobby circles the hall, providing access to rehearsal rooms, offices and a bar.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Above photo by Dušan Tománek

Czech architect Eva Jiricna moved to London in the 1960's and had her big break on the Lloyd's Building - listen to Eva discussing her early career here in our earlier interview.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

This building is nominated for the Inside Awards. Eva Jiricna is also one of the judges and Dezeen is proud to be online media partner for the awards, taking place in Barcelona on 2-3 November.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

The Convention Centre is not the first building with a crown for a roof - see our earlier stories about a pointed yellow pavilion in Shanghai and the London 2012 Olympic Stadium.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Above and top photo are by Filip Šlapal

More stories about cultural buildings on Dezeen »

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Photography is by Richard Davies apart from where otherwise stated.

More information is provided by the architects:


Cultural Centre, Zlin, Czech Republic

The Cultural and University Centre is situated in the town of Zlin, the only modern town constructed between the two world wars in central Europe, by the industrialist and philanthropist, Tomas Bata. The site belongs to the town of Zlin who has shared it between the University Library and the Cultural Centre.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Photo by Filip Šlapal

The founder of the town was very keen on culture and education, hence adult ‘schools’ were situated in the very centre of the town, a few steps away from the main factories, becoming an integral part of the city concept and their configuration forming the famous ‘Y’ (two rectangular buildings meeting in an angle) creating a public space with a statue of the first Czechoslovakian President. Although the original school buildings collapsed about 15 years ago, a condition for the new development of this site was to maintain this urban concept.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

The site for the Cultural Centre serves multiple functions: a concert hall & theatre, conference centre, home for the administration of the Philharmonic Orchestra, the Centre’s own offices, rehearsal and recording studios, exhibition spaces, and bars.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

The main hall accommodates 850 seats, and approx 50 standing. The Conference Centre caters for roughly the same amount. Balls and other functions can take care of up to eleven hundred persons.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Since the building is situated close to a major intersection, the main auditorium had to be fully isolated from all external noise, vibration etc. Also, for operational reasons, a circulation zone around the auditorium was a strict requirement. With this concept, the oval central space is surrounded by offices, rehearsal rooms etc., all in need of natural ventilation and daylight. Another external layer was required as extra sound insulation and sun protection.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Photo by Filip Šlapal

The urban space, in the form of a ‘V’ opens on to the town centre and the incoming visitors proceed to the entrances situated close to the sharp part of the ‘V’. There is also an entrance to a glazed connecting ‘bubble’, a public restaurant shared by both organisations.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Approaching from the town and main intersection the first visual is the glass brick ‘pallisade’ which absorbs the initial impact of noise and climatic conditions and unifies aesthetically the building whilst also allowing the daylight through. It can be backlit at night and is easy to maintain.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

At the point where the entrance and three storey foyer begins, the external envelope ends and opens the view into the interior of the building with plants, bars and exhibition spaces. The external area is enriched by a water fountain with changing coloured lights.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Since the town is located in a valley and the centre is at the very bottom of it, the roofs are a very important element of the architectural solution. They are being looked at from a substantial part of the other development.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Click above for larger image

The elliptical roof of the auditorium looks like a seamless efficient concrete shell, but contains all the service penetrations, smoke outlets etc, and air-conditioning plant, which does not present the most exciting view. For this reason the external envelope is interconnected with the roof by a perforated metal skin, supported by two large tubes with fins tensioned by vertical cables, also stabilising the external envelope.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Click above for larger image

A great deal of attention had to be given to the inside of the concert hall. An elliptical space is not a good shape acoustically to begin with, therefore convex louvred cast white concrete panels were proposed, which proved a very effective solution. Because of the flexible demands of the space, the seats have been designed in such a way that they can be pushed under the podium and totally free up the central space for other functions.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Click above for larger image

The building was built on a shoestring budget and had to be tendered twice since European funding has very strict requirements. The only luxury was the choice of colours for the seats, and a ‘flutter’ of glass butterflies across the acoustic ceiling.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Click above for larger image

As far as the few weeks of this Cultural Centre’s existence seem to indicate, the Philharmonic Orchestra is performing very successfully with a rich and varied list of prominent international artists, and other functions are truly enriching the cultural and architectural reputation of this most remarkable city.

Convention Centre by Eva Jiricna Architects

Click above for larger image


See also:

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Taichung Convention
Center by MAD
International Conference
Center by CAAU
Stadthalle Offenburg by
Hetzel and Ortholf
  • http://www.deloprojet.com delo

    Glass, metal, light: when it is well combined, this gives exceptionnal spaces. Bravo

  • gynous.work

    beautiful curves. nice execution.