MEETT Toulouse Exhibition and Convention Centre | OMA
Photograph by Marco Cappelletti, Courtesy of OMA.
Project: MEETT, Toulouse Exhibition and Congress Centre
Status: Completed, open 26 September 2020
Owner: Toulouse Métropole
Program: Exhibition center and congress center, parking silo, road infrastructure, tram track and tram station
Architects: OMA, Taillandier Architectes Associés, ppa architectures
Area: 155000 m²
Photographs: Marco Cappelletti, Philippe Ruault
Associate Architects:Taillandier Architectes Associés, PPa architectures
Oma Partner :Chris van Duijn, Ellen van Loon, Rem Koolhaas
Oma Project Architect:Gilles Guyot
Design Management :OMA full design consultancy, architecture, road infrastructure and tram
Engineering :Ingerop - Structures, MEP, Building Services, Fire, Traffic, Sustainability, Tram, Road infrastructure
Local Architects: PPA Architectures \ Taillandier Architectes Associés
Landscape Design:Batlle I Roig
Client : Europolia
Users : GL Event
Contributors : Toulouse Métropole, Région Occitanie (45M€), Conseil Départementale Haute- Garonne, Tisséo Collectivité
Lighting Design: 8’18’’
Acoustics:Royal Haskoning DHV
Sustainability : Soconer
Signage: ASE design
MEETT, Toulouse’s new Exhibition and Convention Centre, is located in the innovation zone north of Toulouse. The project is not only about architecture, but also about infrastructure, urbanism, landscape and public space. The 155,000m2 exhibition and convention center is positioned in between the city and the countryside: it connects urbanized plots to the south – mainly dedicated to aeronautics, including the airport hangar of Airbus– to an agricultural landscape to the north.
This rural area, well connected and close to the center of Toulouse, is vulnerable to the pressure of urbanization. Our design uses the massive scale and diverse program of MEETT as an antidote to the sprawl of a standard exposition park, in order to preserve the surrounding Occitanic countryside.
MEETT is conceived as an active strip – ‘une bande active’ - a horizontal and compact project, divided in three parallel bands: a row of modular exhibition halls to the north; a convention center and multi-function event hall to the south; and a reception area to the center, featuring a silo car park for 3,000 cars. Instead of banishing parking underground or pushing it to the periphery of the site, where it has no relationship with the surrounding landscape, we placed the parking at the center of the project, covering a spine where amenities and access to the hall are concentrated.
By combining interior and exterior spaces, and establishing connections with the infrastructure – tramway, roads, airport – and surrounding countryside, a typically introvert typology, the expo, is transformed into an extrovert one.
MEETT is not an architectural intervention, but an urban machine. Both monumental in its scale and subtle in its overall impact, it will be a new gateway to Toulouse.
Northern Strip - Exhibitions
The exhibition building at the northern strip is impressive in scale as it can be enjoyed as a single, nearly 700-m long space. The building is composed with a limited repertoire of functional elements – a series of black boxes (both on the ground and elevated in the air), white-colored steel profiles for the structure and a polycarbonate skin for the facade. Together they form a regular composition which emphasizes the giant scale of the building but also creates a bright and pleasant environment for the exhibition spaces.
The Exhibition Hall provides a total of 40,000m2 of presentation area, which can function either as one major exhibition space or be separated into 7 modular halls, separated by a mechanized curtain. Two elevated mezzanines at either end of the hall provide space for reception or VIP program, while overlooking the main spaces. MEETT is a project about the relationship interior-exterior, and the Exhibition Hall is no exception, as the translucent façade provides the giant hall with generous daylight.
The entire masterplan –including all buildings– is based on a 3-meter grid, following the standard expo distribution, which permits to dissect the building in 3x3 meter cells as if it was a Tetris board, providing endless possibilities to split the use of the ground but also forming an underlying system for all architectural components.