Populous-Designed Henry B. González Convention Center Opens
January 26, 2016
The newly transformed Henry B. González Convention Center opens to the public today, January 26, 2016. Populous’ design inspiration for the San Antonio convention center was driven by a desire for complete flexibility and connectivity. The expansion transforms the city’s urban experience by blending the indoors and outdoors and by adding balconies that allow visitors sweeping views of San Antonio. The expansion connects directly to the existing pre-function areas, establishing a circulation loop that conveniently links all exhibit halls, meeting rooms and ballrooms. This connectivity provides opportunities to integrate guests into the urban fabric to enjoy the adjacent hotels, restaurants and activities in and around the convention center district. In addition, interactive wayfinding and digital signage allow meeting planners to better brand their events efficiently. Just inside the main entrance, the largest public indoor courtyard space in the city was added to provide greater connectedness to the city’s urban core, while giving convention center visitors space to relax and refresh.
Populous, in association with local architect Marmon Mok, and part of the Hunt-Zachry Design-Build team, added nearly 750,000 square feet of new construction to the original convention center, which now sits at 1.7 million square feet. To better accommodate larger, more varied events, 270,000 square feet of new exhibition space were added, along with a 55,000 square foot ballroom, the largest of its kind in Texas. The design-build expansion project, which cost $325 million, now offers direct access at street level to all exhibit halls from the two new lobbies on the north side of the complex. The convention center’s groundbreaking took place in December of 2013 and construction started in February of 2014.
“We are proud that the Henry B. González Convention Center expansion secures its competitive position among convention centers nationwide by providing a flexible, efficient experience that exudes the character, spirit and vibrant culture of San Antonio and its community,” said Populous Senior Principal and Architect Michael Lockwood. “It was really important to the project team to align our design with the mayor’s future vision and goals for downtown San Antonio. We feel this project is part of a bigger plan, it helps maximize visitors, brings life to the street level and transforms the urban experience in San Antonio now and for the future.”