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.
▼项目外观，exterior view ©Marco Cappelletti
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.
▼会展中心MEETT全貌，MEETT overall view ©Marco Cappelletti
MEETT被构想为一个“活跃带”（’une bande active’）：三条平行排列的条带构成了一个水平而紧凑的整体。其中北侧条带是一排模块化的展厅；南侧条带是会议中心和多功能活动厅；中间的条带是接待区域，并设有一座包含3000个车位的筒式停车场。该停车场并未被设置在地下或者与周围景观毫无关联的场外区域，而是处于项目的中心位置，并覆盖着下方的服务设施和动线区域。
▼平面图：项目由三条平行排列的条带构成，plan: a horizontal and compact project divided in three parallel bands ©OMA
▼平行的“条带”，the parallel “bands” ©Marco Cappelletti
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.
▼会议中心和停车场建筑，convention center and car park volumes ©Marco Cappelletti
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.
▼建筑外观细节，exterior detailed view ©Marco Cappelletti
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.
▼展厅建筑，exhibition building ©Marco Cappelletti
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.
▼展览空间，Exhibition Hall ©Marco Cappelletti ©Philippe Ruault
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 3×3 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.
▼展厅平面图，Exhibition Hall – plan ©OMA
Central strip – Reception area
At the center of the project, a 32,700 m2 reception area on the ground floor welcomes visitors into the exhibition halls, the exterior expo and the convention center. This is called the Rue Centrale, and functions, honoring its name, as a street – it is circulation area, information center, and public space all at once. Fully pedestrian, it can house from ticket offices to food stands.
▼位于底层的接待区域，reception area on the ground floor ©Philippe Ruault
▼停车场结构示意， carpark details ©OMA
▼停车场下方空间，the elevated space ©Marco Cappelletti
Elevated above the Rue Centrale and directly accessible from it is the carpark, a four-story elevated silo that sits right in the middle of the project. This building functions as a ceremonial entrance directly into the heart of MEETT, connected to the exhibition areas. It is an open building, to maximize the use of natural light and allow views into the expos from the parking lots.
▼体量之间，between the buildings ©Marco Cappelletti
Southern strip – Events
The southern strip of MEETT consists of a multi-function Event Hall and a Convention Center combined in a single building also directly accessible from the Rue Centrale. The entire building can also be transformed into additional exhibition spaces on two levels.
The Event Hall and Convention Center building is designed as a machine. A system of moveable vertical shutters and horizontal partitions allows it to transform in few minutes into a large number of configurations, from small meeting rooms in the upper floors of the Convention Center to an open plan layout bathing in natural light on the ground floor.
▼南侧的体量结合了多功能活动大厅和会议中心，the southern strip of MEETT consists of a multi-function Event Hall and a Convention Center ©Marco Cappelletti
A 13-m tall sliding façade on the eastern face of the event hall can be opened and allow interior events to continue on the exterior event square. In total the southern strip provides a total leasable area of 65000 m2 inside and 40000 m2 outside of the expo area. Navigation around MEETT is simple – the routes are intuitive, which combined with clear information signs throughout the complex makes it easy for visitors to find their way. Furthermore, the compactness of the expo reduces the distances that the public need to cover during their visit. The entire area is accessible to heavy vehicles, with a separate entry and exit point, and an internal road surrounding the north, west and south facades facilitates distribution and management.
▼活动大厅内部，the event hall ©Marco Cappelletti
▼观众席，auditorium ©Marco Cappelletti
▼室内空间，interior view ©Marco Cappelletti
MEETT also features a transportation hub with a tram station, a bus station, a taxi stop and a reception area for cyclists. This hub on the Eastern side of the expo has the potential to accommodate more infrastructure, anticipating the further urbanization of the area. Directly in front of the transportation hub, a 170m long plaza spans from East to the West, towards MEETT, and provides one single entrance route to MEETT, functioning as an open public area.
▼建筑夜间外观，exterior view by night ©Marco Cappelletti
▼展厅平面图，Exhibition Hall – plan ©OMA
▼展厅建筑剖面和立面，Exhibition Building section & elevation ©OMA
▼活动和会议大厅平面图，Convention Hall plan ©OMA
▼活动和会议大厅剖面和立面，Convention Hall section & elevation ©OMA
▼停车场和“中央大街” 平面图，Parking and Rue Centrale section & elevation ©OMA
▼停车场和“中央大街” 剖面和立面，Parking and Rue Centrale section & elevation ©OMA
Project: MEETT, Toulouse Exhibition and Congress Centre
Status: Completed, open 26 September 2020
Owner: Toulouse Métropole
User: GL EVENT
Contributors : Toulouse Métropole (199M€), Région Occitanie (45M€), Conseil Départementale Haute-Garonne (45M€), Tisséo Collectivité (22M€)
Address: MEETT, Chemin de l’Enseigure, 31 840 Aussonne, France
Program: Exhibition center and congress center, parking silo, road infrastructure, tram track and tram station
Partner: Chris van Duijn, Ellen van Loon, Rem Koolhaas
Project Manager: Gilles Guyot
Contract Manager: François Riollot
Engineering: Ingerop – Structures, MEP, Building Services, Fire, Traffic, Sustainability, Tram, Road infrastructure
Local Architects: PPA Architectures \ Taillandier Architectes Associés
Landscape Design: Batlle I Roig
Lighting Design: 8’18’’
Acoustics: Royal Haskoning DHV
Scenography: Ducks Scéno
Signage: BASE design