Raleigh Convention Center

Architecture & Buildings

North America, United States, Wake County

The Raleigh Convention Center is a convention and exhibition facility in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina that opened in September 2008. The lead architect was Obrien/Atkins Associates. Located at 500 South Salisbury Street, the three-level 500,000-square-foot (46,000 m) building contains an 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m) exhibit hall, twenty meeting rooms and a 32,000-square-foot (3,000 m) ballroom. The ballroom on the highest level can seat up to 2,715 persons (banquet-style) or 3,630 persons (theater-style). The exhibit hall on the lowest level can hold up to 790 booths or seat up to 6,800 persons (banquet-style) or 9,600 persons (theater-style). Extensive acoustics work was performed to not only provide sound isolation between adjacent activities within the center, but also to control noise output to the surrounding community. The facility is more than double the size of the older convention center that was erected in 1977, renovated in 1997, and torn down in February 2006.There had been controversy about the older building as well as the site of the new building. The building cost $225 million dollars to construct. A new Marriott hotel named Marriott City Center was built to provide lodging for visitors and now connects to the Convention Center. The west-facing wall of the new convention center boasts a large public art piece called the 'Shimmer Wall' that contains LED lights in the form of an oak tree, for which the city is nicknamed the 'City of Oaks'. This wall was sponsored by Cree Inc., a local company that manufactures LED lights. On June 4, 2010 the City opened the Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater adjacent to the Convention Center.