New Swiss Tech Convention Center Opens with Convertible Theater/Ballroom Space

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Swiss Tech Convention Center
Swiss Tech Convention Center

The new $255 million Swiss Tech Convention Center, which opened in April in Lausanne, Switzerland, is redefining the idea of “flexible meeting space.”

Watch the video below, beginning at the 2:00 mark when the auditorium begins to shift from a tiered seating arrangement to a flat ballroom floor. The transformation is driven by proprietary GALA Systems technology developed in Quebec, whereby the floor opens up and mechanical arms lift the chairs into the air so they can flip down under the floor. The entire process takes about 15 minutes.

The new facility is located the the city’s “Innovation Square” near the Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL). Lausanne is located on Lake Geneva about 40 minutes by train east of Geneva’s city center.

Designed by Richter & Dahl Rocha Architects, the Swiss Tech Convention Center is one of the only international convention centers located on the property of an international scientific campus. Other unique venues in Lausanne with an educational theme include the Rolex Learning Center and The Olympic Museum, which reopened last December following a two-year renovation.

“The 1,000-­ton metallic titan holds a 3,000‐seat amphitheater that is fully modular, and as such, it will become a smart conferencing lab aimed at developing new tools for sharing scientific knowledge,” says Olivier Mathieu, congress/meetings manager at Lausanne Tourisme. “The Swiss Tech Convention Center is also the first large scale convention hall to use dye-sensitized solar cells, called ‘Grätzel cells,’ developed at EPFL.”

Grätzel cells use dye to convert electricity similar to the principle of chlorophyll photosynthesis in plants, making it less expensive and more flexible than silicon panels.

Conference planners have always craved the ability to use spaces for different purposes over the duration of a program. Considering the worldwide buzz over the Swiss Tech Convention Center, expect the GALA Systems technology to scale worldwide over the coming years.

Also check out our recent story on the new Royal Savoy Lausanne hotel opening next summer.


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