In the thriving provincial capital of Upper Austria, Design Center Linz (www.design-center-linz.com) is distinguished on the outside by a sleek, curving roof of steel and glass. Inside, the ultra-modern, high-tech environment is a flexible envelope for technology-enabled meetings of 10 to 3,000. Floor panels located every eight feet throughout the facility are equipped with 128 Kbps ISDN lines and a fiber-optic network. It is also possible to videoconference from every room in the center. The building is set up with a Picture Tel 4000 videoconferencing system plus optical fiber cables that run to the neighboring Austrian Broadcasting Company Studios for satellite uplink. Participants don't have to worry about converting video presentations: the center supports seven video formats including VHS. And there are 45 connectors for personal laptops.

The largest space in the center is a 46,289-square-foot exhibit hall that can accommodate up to 3,000 people. There's also a theater for up to 1,100; a gallery for 800; a meeting hall for 570; and breakout space for small groups of 10 to 55.

Roughly 450 events have been held at Design Center Linz since it opened five years ago, and many take advantage of the center's technological capabilities. In September 1997, for example, videoconferencing allowed attendees at The Computer Integrated Surgery Conference to watch colleagues in remote locations perform real-time surgical procedures. Among this year's meetings was Dataprint '98, an international print media trade fair that showcased innovations such as the world's fastest color printer.