Spacious Addition: Estrel opens 10,000 square metre Convention Hall II
Berlin, 14 September 2015. The Estrel Berlin, Europe's largest hotel, convention and entertainment centre, is now expanded, enhanced and better than ever. With the debut of Convention Hall II, the Estrel enthusiastically unveils an additional 10,000 square metres of event space, nearly doubling its previous function space capacities. Spanning three levels, Convention Hall II features a central 4,600 square metre cantilevered hall with capacity for 5,200 people, a 1,050 square metre event space with capacity for 900 people, a 700 square metre foyer, four conference rooms for up to 100 people and three lounges. This new addition increases the Estrel Congress & Messe Center's total event space to over 25,000 square metres, affording even more room for conventions, meetings, trade fairs and events. Now equipped to accommodate up to 12,000 visitors, the 30 million euro investment was clearly money well spent.
"We're especially excited that we were able to unveil the expanded facility on schedule. We play an integral role in Berlin’s conference and convention landscape, welcoming upwards of 360,000 guests and hosting over 1,800 events a year. The expansion allows us to bolster our position and encourage new international organizations to hold their events in Germany's capital city", says Ekkehard Streletzki, owner of the Estrel. "Even before construction was completed, the demand was enormous". Both Convention Halls I and II are already booked for a number of large events. The inaugural event took place at the beginning of September with over 2,000 visitors attending a convention by an international electrical wholesaler. In the coming months, the Estrel will host events for up to 3,000 visitors, including the televised José Carreras Gala in December. By the end of this year, 27,390 visitors are expected to pass through the new Convention Hall II and events resulting in a total of 29,500 future visitors are already confirmed for 2016.
Steady revenue growth and fewer room vacancies
"Our new Convention Hall II will allow us to steadily increase revenue at the Estrel Berlin", says Streletzki. In 2014, the Estrel generated 59.5 million euros in revenue. The expansion will make it possible to significantly increase the hotel's current occupancy rate of around 65 percent. "In the future, if either of the Convention Halls is undergoing renovations, we'll be able to compensate by continuing to host events in the other hall. Other Berlin hotels will profit from the expansion as well in that more guests in need of overnight accommodation will be coming to Berlin", says Streletzki.
Doing most of the heavy lifting
The construction of Convention Hall II entailed the use of 6,400 cubic metres of concrete and 1,295 tonnes of steel. The complex is built to last from top-to-bottom: 360 concrete pillars form a support grid 18 metres deep beneath the building. From start to finish, construction took 13 months, with 32 companies lending their expertise to the project. At peak stages, up to 75 workers were actively engaged on site at the same time. The roof of the cantilevered hall spans 75 metres and features 96 suspension points with an overall bearing capacity of up to 1,250 kilograms. In other words, the 11.5-metre-high ceiling is capable of supporting the weight of 100 automobiles! With the addition of Convention Hall II, the Estrel Congress & Messe Center's event service inventory has also grown by 1.1 kilometres of suspension rods, 70,000 pieces of cutlery, 35,500 glasses, 25,000 pieces of china and 780 tables. Last but not least, the Estrel was pleased to welcome 50 new employees to the permanent staff. Built according to Germany's 2014 energy standards (EnEV), the energy efficient, environmentally friendly hall will utilise greywater for the sanitation systems and supplement energy usage with up to 160 kilowatts via a rooftop solar panel system.
Interior architecture by b-k-i brandherm + krumrey interior architecture
Structural integrity and engineering weren't the project’s only priorities. The Estrel brought Susanne Brandherm from the award-winning architecture firm b-k-i brandherm + krumrey interior architecture on board to design the space's interior. Cultivating a personal and appealing atmosphere without compromising functionality is at the heart of the concept. The 700-square-metre foyer, in particular, embodies this idea: Accessible via a vibrant connecting corridor, the foyer's distinctive character acts as a point of intersection between the two complexes. The interior design aims to embody a salon-like atmosphere: Elegant, slate-coloured tiles, sophisticated pendant lights, stylish seating options and metallic-hued walls create an inviting, engaging setting. "Rather than aiming for a functional blank slate, the idea was to create an event space with a cohesive, pleasant ambiance for the visitors. The result is state of the art and one of a kind, with an inviting interior design that is conducive to exchanging ideas and ensuring visitors enjoy their time at the Estrel", says Susanne Brandherm, Managing Director of b-k-i brandherm + krumrey interior architecture. "The Sum of All Possibilities", an installation by London artists collective Troika, serves as the foyer's eye-catching centrepiece. Made of grey-lacquered wood that rotates in a circular orbit around its own axis, the sculpture – which is suspended from the ceiling – symbolises a state of perpetual metamorphosis.
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