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Work Begins On Tsukuba International Convention Center

Author: Author unknown, Issue: May 1997, Topic: Facilities

Elaborate ground-breaking ceremonies were held in early April to signal the beginning of construction on the long-awaited convention center. Lack of a first-rate convention center has often been sited as a hindrance to the accomplishment of the main goal of the Science City Enamely scientific interchange and the advancement of science and technology.

Due to be completed in 1999, the facility will feature a main convention hall with a seating capacity of 1250 complete with the latest and best in the way of audiovisual equipment, including a six-language simultaneous translation system and a 400-inch, high-definition TV screen. For especially large conferences, closed-circuit TVs will allow direct hook-ups to other conference rooms giving a total capacity of 2500. This will allow conferences to be together for opening and closing ceremonies while divided up into interest groups for bulk of the conference.

The information packet includes the interesting description of another technological marvel, namely that the luxurious seats in the main hall are designed so that "the back rest of the chair in front of you when in a reclined position serves as a writing desk." (It's a bit hard to picture how a "luxurious" seat back can be transformed into a writing desk, but presumably, there is a hard surface that swings over the reclined chair back Eprovided, of course, no one is already sitting in the chair!)

The other main room of the convention center is a multi-purpose hall designed for poster sessions, displays and receptions, but it can also be set up for seating with a 670 person capacity. Two large and 15 smaller conference rooms are also located in the building, with the larger ones holding 230 and 200 people respectively.

The main convention hall (to the right in the picture) will be connected to the rest of the facility by walkways at three levels, and the other facilities will all surround a large open atrium in the center, reaching up to the top (4th) floor. The atrium will have a glass ceiling and the entire facility will be enclosed in glass on the front side, giving the interior space a warm, bright atmosphere. On the upper floor, plans call for a "social salon", a room for social gatherings, that looks out onto a rooftop garden above the 3rd floor of part of the building.

During the next couple of years, Residents of Takezono House will unfortunately have to put up with some construction noise and other inconveniences. Unlike the bosozoku, hoever, that presumably won't be going on in the middle of the night! Long term residents living next to the construction site of some such long-awaited facility can at least look forward to the benefits of the facility to offset the inconvenience of the moment. Takezono House residents unfortunately won't have that option as the ones who have to put up with the construction noise won't be around when the benefits come. But then, life is not always fair.

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