The Virginia Beach Convention Center has earned national recognition in the 2008 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2). Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievements in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects around the country.
Project team members include architecture and structural engineering firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Chicago, IL; associate architect and engineering firm Clark – Nexsen (civil, mechanical, electrical, plumbing), Norfolk, VA; owner city of Virginia Beach; structural steel fabricator Cives Steel Company, Winchester, VA; steel detailer Southern Detailing, Goose Creek, SC; steel erector W.O. Grubb Steel Erection, Inc., Richmond, VA; and general contractor Turner Construction Company, New York, NY.
The Virginia Beach Convention Center project is a National Winner in the category of Projects Greater than $75 million, making it one of only two around the country to earn an award in this classification.
Inspired by the project site adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, the 516,000-square-foot building’s design is based on nautical themes and seagoing vessels, along with a strong structural support for such endeavors. Images such as sails, yacht fittings, lighthouses, waves, and water all find their way into the architectural design vocabulary.
The monumental steel-framed glass curtain that forms the front entry to the center resembles a wind-filled sail and appears to float in pools of water. Visitors walk across wooden boardwalks to make their entrance into the building, where they can stroll on carpet that evokes images of seaweed, beach towels and sand. The observation tower is reminiscent of a lighthouse; the tower of steel and glass offering breathtaking views of the ocean and beach. Exposed structural steel elements are used throughout the convention center as a common and unifying theme.