In 2009, the Elicium was officially opened by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Orange. The Elicium is the expansion and contemporary face of the Amsterdam RAI complex, one of Europe’s largest conference centres.
In order to retain its competitive position as an international conference and exhibition centre, RAI realised that it needed to expand. Arup was the structural engineer for the project.
Designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects, the innovative building is a major addition to the city’s landscape. It was designed with the very latest environmental technologies, including climate façade and thermal storage 187m below ground.
Nestled between the Holland and Europe Hall, and above the existing car park, the futuristic Elicium structure connects the various parts of Amsterdam RAI. It includes 2,500m² of exhibition space and 800m² of conference space. 5,800m² of office space has also been created in the seven-storey tower rising above.
The exhibition space hovers 5m above street level, creating a large awning over the entrance below, which is supported by angled columns. It is attached to the existing complex on both sides by aerial walkways. This creates a circuit or perimeter walk, transforming the old forecourt into an enclosed garden.
A second entrance is found on the west side of the building at ground floor level. The conference halls are located above this entrance, separated from the exhibition areas by elongated concrete cores. There are five congress halls that are spatially linked but can be used separately. The ballroom is a large column-free single space that may be divided up using sliding partitions.