Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
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Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

Boston, Massachusetts

2004 157,935 m²

Described by Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell as “the best of its kind in the country,” the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) is unique in that, unlike typical “black-box” convention centers with limited natural lighting, the main exhibition hall features a light-infused space with soaring overhead volumes.


The 2,000-foot-long building, designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects PC in a joint venture with HNTB Architecture, is sited along the boundary between the mid-rise commercial district near Boston Inner Harbor and the residential neighborhoods of South Boston. To negotiate this transition, the BCEC’s long, metallic, double-curved roof soars out over Summer Street to the north and slopes gradually to a scale more appropriate to the residential buildings to the south. Symmetrically located along either side of the main hall, lower three-story blocks house eighty-four meeting rooms, prefunction spaces, and food service facilities.


Visitors enter through a wide portico beneath the Grand Ballroom and its accompanying prefunction areas. Inside, the public concourse affords views out over the main exhibition hall, a grand interior civic space with a 516,000-square-foot floor, the curved main roof 75 to 100 feet above, and lower 45-foot ceilings along either side. The exhibition hall subdivides into three smaller halls with pedestrian bridges and moveable partition walls that slide beneath them; because the bridges are glazed, with fixed glass partition walls rising above, sightlines are maintained throughout the building at all times.


In an unusual design feature that increases visitor access and efficient space usage, the BCEC separates visitor and service entrances vertically: an elevated, one-way road rings the facility so that visitors enter on all sides of the building, while service access is provided by a fifty-six-vehicle loading dock on a level beneath the concourse roadway. This allows for the placement of meeting rooms and visitor services around the hall on all sides.