Firm News

Convention Centers: Capturing an Attitude, Delivering Results

For nearly 40 years, tvsdesign has been inventing and reinventing convention centers around the world. Often located in difficult urban, challenged, and under performing locations, our teams have created iconic buildings that channel the spirit of a place, welcome visitors and provide a context for people to share ideas. Operational requirements are complex. Budgets and schedules are tight. Our response is not formulaic. Each city, each site, each context presents unique opportunities to showcase a city, engage local culture and capitalize on the commerce of place. The careful consideration and integration of a city’s amenities and spirit are critical to the overall success of a convention destination and that success is at the forefront of our design solutions.

Music City Center - which opened in May of 2013, ahead of schedule and under budget - has completed its first year in style, beating attendance and booking projections beyond Music City Center President/CEO, Charles Starks' highest expectations. The economic impact of the center in the most recent quarter is double the impact of just a year ago. Bookings reach into 2026 with more than 2.1 million hotel rooms secured. This ongoing success was preceded by the hard work of the client, contractor and design team in executing a design that captured the imagination and the swagger of the Nashville community. Flexible event space is at home with the CMA awards and concerts as with trade shows and Mary Kay, supports the broad requirements of the market. A large, green roof that reflects the rolling hills of Tennessee also reflects the center’s commitment to sustainability. Forms inspired by musical instruments and wide open public spaces filled with local art give more than a nod to Nashville’s musical roots and welcoming people.

Nashville is a city on the move ranked as one of the fastest growing economies of the US. Boasting the iconic Music City Center and new hotel development, Nashville now ranks in the top 10 of convention destinations in the US, according to Cvent who annually ranks the industry's top 50.

Detroit’s Cobo Center is nearing completion on its $299 million renovation. Events are up 22% over last year and have reached a 20-year high. The renovation and expansion developed by tvsdesign have recast Cobo as a modern center, embracing its location on the Detroit River, and providing upgraded flexible event space that will serve the Detroit area and the North American International Auto Show for years to come. An underperforming arena space has been transformed into a 40,000 sf ballroom with views to the river and a light-filled connection to exhibit spaces. New entrances and building facades have opened the center to the city and engage passersby with media walls that promote activities within. These significant public space improvements have been augmented by new mechanical systems and back-of-house service upgrades that bring operational efficiency, as well as, enhanced marketability.

Detroit resurgence is real. The new Cobo Center is a part of telling the Detroit story of reinvention, entrepreneurialism and collaboration. tvsdesign is proud to be part of that ongoing success.

Envisioning and delivering a convention facility - whether a renovation, expansion or new construction - is hard work and not everyone can do it. Experience, listening and commitment to a shared vision is essential to success for everyone engaged in the process. Over the years, we have built many friendships and have given and received hard-earned respect to and from our clients, design partners, contractors and suppliers. We are proud of our leadership in the industry and look forward to many new challenges, friendships and results.

Music City Center

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Project Area: 1.2 million sf

Client: Nashville Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency

Design Partners: Tuck-Hinton Architects and Moody Nolan, Inc. Architects

Cobo Center

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Project Area: 40,000 sf ballroom, renovation of all meeting spaces, lobbies, concourses and exterior architectural enhancements

Client: Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA)

Design Partners: SDG, Kahn and Rosetti