Three Rivers Convention Center
2006 MCAA International Excellence in Masonry Award Winner
Aden Masonry, Inc.
Architect: Contacts Without Company
Given that the purpose of this $17 million convention center is to bring new guests into the region, the design team adopted a concept of treating the building as a celebration of the Three Rivers region (Columbia, Snake and Yakima). This concept was executed through a process of seeking and discovering opportunities to make metaphorical references to the region's unique culture and beautiful high desert environment through building form, colors and materials.
One of the design team's first decisions was to make extensive use of concrete masonry units (CMU's) inside and outside the 81,000 sf facility. CMU offered all the attributes the design team was looking for:
- Economical, durable
- Low maintenance
- A variety of aesthetically pleasing colors and textures
- Permanent interior and exterior finishes
- Inherent structural capacity for vertical and shear loading
- Good thermal performance
This variety is most obvious at the main entrance lobby. The form of the entrance lobby represents the sparkle and motion of water, forming a "rooster tail" in tribute to 40 years of hydroplane racing, a cultural icon for the Tri-Cities. The contrast in color and texture of the ground face lighter panels with the split face darker panels is amplified throughout the day on this gently curved exterior wall as the sun tracks to the west. Custom blocks were produced that provide rough split face texture on exterior wall surface and ground face, allowing a single material to offer two radically different expressions on exterior and interior faces of the same wall.
The rustic aesthetic of the split face CMU was also used to provide the backdrop for the Internet Cafe, a lounge and beverage serving area adjacent to the main lobby. The cafe was designed as a tribute to the local wine industry, internationally recognized for its high quality vineyards and winemakers. The heavy texture of the split face CMU conjures up images of European catacombs inside the cafe amidst contemporary interpretations of wine barrels. These elements continue outside past floor-to-ceiling glass walls, blurring the line between interior and exterior spaces. Immediately outside the cafe is a private exterior patio featuring an overhead arbor structure and an organically shaped CMU seat wall.
The facility has been an immediate success for the Three Rivers region. The incorporation of masonry has been and will continue to be a significant part of the building's success.