A convention center (American English; or conference centre in British English) is a large building that is designed to hold a convention, where individuals and groups gather to promote and share common interests. Convention centers typically offer sufficient floor area to accommodate several thousand attendees. Very large venues, suitable for major trade shows, are sometimes known as exhibition halls. Convention centers typically have at least one auditorium and may also contain concert halls, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and conference rooms. Some large resort area hotels include a convention center.
The original convention centers or halls were in castles and palaces. Originally a hall in a castle would be designed to allow a large group of lords, knights and government officials to attend important meetings with the king. A more ancient tradition would have the king or lord decide disputes among his people. These administrative actions would be done in the great hall and would exhibit the wisdom of the king as judge to the general populace.
One of the most famous convention center debacles happened in France on June 20, 1789. King Louis XVI locked a group known as the Third Estate out of the meeting hall in Versailles. This led to the revolutionary group holding their meeting in an indoor tennis court. This was the first modern democratic conference center and lead to the Tennis Court Oath and the French Revolution.
See also: Victorian architecture
Exhibition Hall of the Makaryev Fair
Kongresshalle Berlin – House of the Cultures of the World
McCormick Place in Chicago, the largest Convention center in North America
Birchwood Conference Centre, Johannesburg
The Terminal Auditorium, an early 20th century convention center in Toledo, Ohio
Congress center (Palais des Congrès) in Liège, Belgium