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Tension structure expresses nautical theme at Mexican exposition center

Exteriors, Features | July 1, 2010 | By:

Beautiful Puerto Vallarta is one of the premier tourist destinations in Mexico. Its harbor is home to some of the most beautiful and expensive yachts in the Western Hemisphere. An equally beautiful convention center is located adjacent to the international airport and not far from a marina and major hotels that are located on the El Salado Estuary, a nationally protected area in Banderas Bay.

The International Convention Center of Puerto Vallarta (Centro de Convenciones Internacional [CCI]) is a 15,000m2 building on a 17-hectare site, able to hold events for up to 7,000 people.

Access to the center’s main entrance is through a gateway marked by a quartet of white masts supporting fabric sails, past a reflective water fountain and pool and through a landscaped garden plaza.

The aesthetic decision to reflect the nearby harbor in the design of the convention center is natural. The four masts that support the sails range in size from 30m to 50m high and are held steady by substantial tensioned cables and turnbuckles. Because Puerto Vallarta lies in a hurricane zone where winds can exceed 200km/hr, wind pressure on flat surfaces such as fabric sails was a major consideration in the design of the tensile structure entryway. The weight of the catenary cables that define the sail edges and the complexity of the fabric installation required a specially designed clamping system. The prominent sails have become a symbol of the convention center and appear as CCI’s logo, contributing to a world-class business destination.

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