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NYS Fairgrounds Exposition Center

Client: New York State Office of General Services in association with Agriculture & Markets


Architect, Geotechnical Engineer and Structural Engineer: QPK Design



The Exposition Center is situated within the existing New York State Fairgrounds, on the west side of the campus opposite the International Building. The Expo Center main lobby (concourse) is on the axis formed by the “State Park” and the International Building, welcoming the visitors from the southeast.  The southwest side of the Expo Center faces the midway with a secondary lobby to facilitate the visitors coming from the midway and parking lots to the west. The secondary entrance located at the northeast corner of the center provides access to the center for the visitors from Iroquois Street. The loading and service side of the building is located at the northwest side of the building, with anticipation of future expansion towards the northwest. To make a graceful transition from the street to the building, various terraces, ramps and stairs are provided along all four sides of the building.


The Expo Center is composed of two main levels, the ground floor and mezzanine level, with the following components:


Main East Concourse ( Pre-function): At ground level, the main concourse volume houses the meeting rooms, concessions, ticketing,  public restrooms and other supporting functions.  A 2500 square feet VIP room and its supporting functions are located on the mezzanine level within this volume. The VIP room and its pre-function space will benefit from the ample view ranging from northeast to southwest of the Fairgrounds, as well as an elevated view into the Expo Hall. Additionally, a variety of events could be hosted in the main concourse space due to its size and quality of the space.

Exposition Hall: Located on the ground level with its supporting spaces to its south, north and west, this multifunction hall is the center of the building. The length of the Expo Hall is 440 feet and the width is 250 feet, with a total area of 110,000 square feet. The size of the Expo Hall will be able to host equine events, motocross, various indoor sports, and trade shows.  The Expo Hall will be equipped with portable bleachers with 4000 seating capacity; during an exhibition event, the hall could provide a total of 486 international standard booths at 10’x10’each. With a height clearance of 60’ along the central axis of the hall, the hall has great flexibility to host indoor sports events such as indoor football and soccer. 

The Supporting Facilities: Public restrooms and concessions, are designed to accommodate large crowds of visitors. The Expo Hall restrooms are sized based upon the largest occupant load when it is used for exhibition events. Exterior access will be available at the restrooms, to provide service when the building is not in use. The concessions are located in the southeast concourse, Exposition Hall and the midway side of the building to serve Fairgrounds patrons.  The show manager’s office and control rooms are located along the southeast wall of the Expo Hall with a direct view of the hall.


The building form draws inspiration from the Fairgrounds’ rich architectural heritage, and aims to be contextual but also to have its own unique identity. The overall building form is modern, yet through its roof form and exterior material it creates a dialogue between the old and the new. The gable roof form is the direct response to the center’s immediate environment.  The two upper roof planes, separated by a clerestory, together with the “L” shaped concourse roof create a dynamic interplay between the building forms.


The transparent nature of the southeast concourse volume provides a climax or a counterpoint along the main northeast and southwest axis, starting from Art and Home Center and State Park.  The simulated wood textured ceiling also provides warmth and a sense of human scale to the space below, while contributing to an atmosphere of hospitality in the contemporary Expo Hall design.