On Wednesday, January 31st, SOM designers, city officials, and business leaders celebrated the grand opening of the Monterey Conference Center. SOM’s design for the center restores the 40-year-old facility as a hub of activity in the heart of downtown Monterey, California.
The event began with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and included remarks from city and business officials as well public tours of the updated facility. SOM Design Director Michael Duncan shared insight on the design vision and process behind the renovation of the center.
The project, which reused more than 80 percent of the original steel and concrete structure, transforms the conference center into an inviting, light-filled municipal facility that is open to its surroundings. An enlarged lobby with double-height glazing serves as an active ground floor to welcome event attendees, while the interior space of the center has been reimagined as a flexible, state-of-the-art venue. The adjacent Portola Plaza is reconfigured to be a vibrant, outdoor extension of the Conference Center and strengthen pedestrian access from downtown to the waterfront.