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Irving Convention Center, Las Colinas, Texas

A transparent copper veil defines the massive Convention Center at Las Colinas, Texas. This innovative project, designed by Studio Hillier, has been LEED certified for its sustainability credentials. 

The 25,000m2 multifunctional complex, incorporating a column-free exhibition hall, is conceived as a twisted stack of boxes, enabling the building to shade itself and its outdoor patios. Its verticality generates a much smaller footprint than expected for the typology, making it more efficient for servicing events and for visitors to move fluidly between spaces within interesting places to interact with one another.

The building has achieved ‘LEED Silver’ certification from the US Green Building Council for its integration of sustainable principles and innovative design. Over 130 tonnes of copper has been used to cover the building – selected as a natural, lightweight and low-maintenance material. Much of the copper covering is pulled away from the building, providing shade and a cushion of cooling air to reduce energy consumption. Here, graduated perforations in the copper also add transparent qualities to the architecture both by day and at night.

The project was a winner of the 2015 North American Copper in Architecture Awards.

Unique Copper Surfaces

A pattern unique to the building has been developed and applied across its entire surface, with copper panels either embossed to give texture or perforated for transparency, using a special mechanical process. Part of the development involved exploration of how two layers of the same perforated material would interact with each other. Here, the eventual design generates fascinating moiré patterns, transforming as you move past.

The detailed design also creates an illusion, at first glance, of the discreet circular shapes floating in space, due to the slightness of the copper ‘bridges’ connecting them. ‘Mill finish’ copper has been used throughout – deliberately – so that the initial bright copper surface will go through a long process of natural patination, determined by the local environment. Within weeks of installation, the project had already begun to darken in areas and, within a year, the whole building had developed a deep, bluish-brown tone. 



Irving Convention Center
Completion date: 
United States of America
Zip code: 
Las Colinas
500 W Boulevard Irving


Transparent structures
Type of building: 
Commercial, trading
Copper used: 


Name, office: 
Studio Hillier

Copper contractors

A. Zahner Company

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