Alternative proposal for the Convention Center Site: City in the Sky

Walker Evans Walker Evans Alternative proposal for the Convention Center Site: City in the SkyRenderings provided Tim Lai ArchitecT.
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In response to last week’s proposals (here and here) for a mixed-use addition to the northern end of the Columbus Convention Center, Tim Lai and Eliza Ho of Tim Lai ArchitecT have put together their own creative vision for the site.

Similar to the other proposals, their conceptual design features two towers on each side of Goodale, but differs with a bridged addition at the top that would include a rooftop garden and observation deck.

“I think people in Columbus would love to have an observation deck in combination of a rooftop garden and this site is a great opportunity do so,” said Lai. “Everything looks so different when you shift your perspective, and all of a sudden you feel elevated yet grounded because we can clearly see how different parts of the city are connected.”

Exterior escalators would be utilized to connect the street level to the top of the complex.

“Our perspective is so used to the street level,” added Ho. “The green space on the roof aims to become an urban oasis that breaks away from the busy traffic on the streets while giving visitors an all encompassing view of Columbus’ Downtown and nearby neighborhoods: north to OSU campus, south to Germany Village, West to Scioto River and Franklinton, and east to Old Towne East and Bexley.”


Their design includes space in the top of the tower that could house a multi-purpose venue for cultural ad performing arts groups.

“At this prime location in between the Short North Arts District and Downtown, the Convention Center site is ideal to showcase the excellence and diversity of art forms of our city,” adds Ho. “Art has a proven record in bringing people together, activating spaces, and elevating the status of a city.”

The exterior escalators are one of the most prominent features of the design, which Ho says are designed to ignite a sense of exploration and curiosity.

“Remember how excited and nervous we once were as kids when getting on an escalator,” she asks. “This design wants to capture the same excitement and further dramatize it by placing it outdoor. The ride on the escalator builds up the anticipation for something really exciting on the top level, be they the art performances, the roof top garden, or a fancy restaurant.”

Unlike the other two proposals presented last week by Wagenbrenner and Daimler/Kaufman, the renderings from Tim Lai ArchitecT have no developer attached to the project, making them purely conceptual, and meant primarily to continue the conversation about what is architecturally possibly in Columbus.

“To build something like this, the chances are not high,” explains Lai. “But it is a good opportunity to think outside the box and explore the possibility of whole new urban experience by turning the building upside down and putting the public space on top.”

For more information, visit

Renderings provided Tim Lai ArchitecT.

Edited 1:40pm to correct external elevators to external escalators.


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