Sustainable Building
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Creating order through high-quality architecture

The Nuremberg exhibition centre is expanding. The new exhibition halls mark a turning point, Hall 3C is now a structural highlight of the entire site. But what makes the project and its qualities so special?

Quantities of steel that weigh as much as about 500 elephants, a roof area in the order of about 16,372 DIN-A4 sheets, a glass façade that is 1,500 times as large as the surface of the human body – the key data of the Exhibition Hall 3C in Nuremberg is impressive. The reason for the ambitious design: The responsible CEOs of the Nuremberg Trade Fair want the exhibition grounds of the Franconian metropolis to be the most powerful in Europe from 2024 onwards, at least in terms of compactness and parallel operation. High-quality architecture also plays a role here.

With Zaha Hadid Architects, a world-famous architectural firm has once again been engaged. Hadid’s team had already designed Hall 3A and thus brought their iconic organically moving designs to the exhibition centre. The hall is DGNB-certified and its future viability was also ensured in this way.

A certification process of a different kind

“The certification of an exhibition hall is something special”, says auditor Giulia Peretti from Werner Sobek Green Technologies, “because many procedures and processes in this type of building are unchangeable and predetermined. In addition, Hall 3C is integrated into the overall system of the exhibition grounds. This increases the number of influencing factors, but also has advantages, since a well-functioning system is already in place”.

An example of this interaction: Hall 3C is integrated into the energy management system of Nuremberg Fair. This means that continuous monitoring and optimisation of energy performance is already specified independently as part of the DGNB certification. In particular, the balance sheets of individual trade fairs and exhibition halls can be compared to each other, unlike in office buildings, for example. Both the energy consumption of the stand operators and the resulting energy consumption of the operation of the entire hall can vary considerably. The type of exhibition operation is another variable in this network of relationships.

  • The struts mounted on the outside give the façade spatial depth. ©Heiko Stahl / NürnbergMesse GmbH

Important factors for a sustainable exhibition hall in general are high flexibility, optimised living costs and maximised comfort and safety for the users. “We are very well positioned in these key aspects,” says Peretti. “For example, the exclusive use of building products with very low emissions and SVHC concentrations (“Substances of Very High Concern”, chemical compounds that must be avoided according to the EU regulation, editor’s note) has produced excellent results for indoor air quality. In addition, we have ensured that the materials used for electrical cables, floor coverings and insulation materials are 100% halogen-free. This ensures maximum safety, even in the event of fire. This is very important for visitors and employees alike.”

Where organic design celebrates engineering qualities

The experience of the planning team is key to the remarkable quality of Hall 3C, Peretti continues: “The planners and the team from Nuremberg Fair were already working on Hall 3A. So the DGNB requirements and procedures were known. This led to an efficient certification process and a basically flawless inspection during the construction phase. Furthermore, additional optimisations could be achieved compared to the older Hall 3A, for example, a better waste balance or noise reduction on the construction site”.

Johannes Hoffmann, with Zaha Hadid Architects since 2005, is responsible for the architectural design of the hall. It is important to Hoffmann that a building has a ‘positive aura, a motivating effect and promotes social contacts’. He sees Hall 3C as an example of how this can be achieved. “Most exhibition halls are self-contained, inward-facing buildings,” says Hoffmann in an interview. Instead, Hall 3C was intended to be a ‘reloading point, open to the urban space, open to communication’ and at the same time high-quality architecture.

Openness and transparency: The design communicates values that are important for a trade fair. The terrace should offer space for communication. ©Heiko Stahl / NürnbergMesse GmbH

But a kind of experience of the hall is equally important for Hoffmann. The architect wants to organise spaces in such a way that they appear accessible and almost human. The terrace, which floats above the exhibition space, takes into account the human desire for a high point and observation post. With its organic parcelling, the concise roof structure is reminiscent of basic forms of nature and at the same time pays tribute to engineering qualities. For Hofmann, this is proof of built sustainability: “A building has a future if it is still appreciated by its users in 15, 30, 50 years’ time”.

More high-quality architecture for the fair

Meanwhile, the Nuremberg Fair is already planning its next expansion. Both Zaha Hadid Architects and the DGNB are available as partners: The new NCC South is the fourth Convention Centre on the exhibition grounds and is flanked by Halls 3A and 3C. Completion is scheduled for 2024, with 200 million Euros to be invested in the project. The NCC South is also striving for DGNB certification, and Giulia Peretti will once again be responsible for auditing the project.

The trade fair management is motivated and ready for swift construction activity: 2019 was the most successful odd-numbered year in the company’s history.

Filed under: Sustainable Building


Witold Buenger works at the DGNB in Marketing and is Project Manager Product Communication. The key to successful work is to present topics and services in an appealing and target group-oriented way, and to present special topics in an entertaining and comprehensible way. He studied media and musicology and worked in various companies and editorial departments after completing his traineeship at a publishing house.

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