Katowice International Conference Centre (ICC)
The Katowice Internationa Conference Centre (ICC) is an exceptional place on the map of Polish event venues. A contemporary designed building combining multiple functions, it hosts congresses, conferences, exhibitions, trade shows and performances. Together with the legendary Spodek Sports and Entertainment Arena next door, the Centre ranks as one of the largest conference and exhibition facilities in the country. Its unique design, superb location and excellent functionality all make the ICC stand out from its competition.
The International Conference Centre was opened to the public in 2015. Its design alluded to Katowice’s modernist architecture and aimed to integrate the new building into the urban fabric so as to create, together with the neighbouring Spodek Arena, a new space for leisure and recreation. It was this idea that inspired the Green Valley on the roof of the ICC, which now connects the two buildings to tap the synergy effect between them and the events they host. The ICC’s observation deck overlooks the Spodek and has become a favourite spot with local residents. Created by JEMS Architekci, a Warsaw-based studio selected in an international architectural competition, the ICC’s design has won many awards in Poland and beyond.
The Spodek Arena is a highly distinctive building with a rich history of entertainment, sports and exhibition events. Opened in 1971, it has become a permanent fixture on the map of Katowice and one of the most easily recognized icons of modernist architecture in Poland. For the past 47 years, the Spodek has served as a venue for large events, including concerts by world-famous musicians and world championships in a variety of sports.
The architects who designed the Spodek were selected in a competition held by the Polish Architects' Society in 1959. The team consisted of Maciej Gintowt and Maciej Krasiński. Wacław Zalewski, an ingenious constructor, was responsible for the structure of the Spodek, in cooperation with Andrzej Żórawski. Construction on the arena lasted from 1964 to 1971, and when it was completed, its innovative and unique design enchanted the public.
Since it was built nearly half a century ago, the Spodek has hosted performances by such illustrious stars as Sting, Elton John, Jean-Michel Jarre, Chris Rea, Cliff Richard, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Brian Adams, Vanessa Mae, Deep Purple, Metallica, The Cure, Genesis, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Black Sabbath, Saxon, Mike Oldfield, The Kelly Family, Rammstein, Iron Maiden, Robbie Williams, Depeche Mode, Korn and Slipknot.
The Spodek has also been the site of unforgettable sporting events. Fans have flocked to world championships in men's volleyball, ice hockey, women's handball, bodybuilding, weightlifting, acrobatic gymnastics, the finals of the World League in men's volleyball, as well as European championships in wrestling, track and field, men's handball and women's basketball. It was in the Spodek that Poland won the Men's Volleyball World Championship in 2009; since then, it has been hailed as the Mecca of Polish volleyball.
The International Conference Centre, the Spodek Sports and Entertainment Arena, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Silesian Museum together form the Culture Zone in Katowice. They are all located on the premises of the former Katowice Coal Mine, which was active up to the 1990s. The revitalization of this space, situated at the very heart of the city, has been truly amazing. In a little over a decade, a heavy industrial zone was transformed into a vibrant conference industry venue, which, together with the other institutions of the Culture Zone, has helped turn Katowice into a major centre of business tourism.