Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham

Client: Birmingham City Council

Value: £10.6m

Duration: 67 weeks

This build and refurbishment scheme had been talked about for more than a decade and was a joint venture between the MAC, South Asian Arts development agency (Sampad), and Birmingham City Council. It was jointly funded by BCC and the Arts Council, with Thomas Vale Construction being chosen as the preferred contractor.

Although cherished by the community, the original buildings lacked space and facilities for its ever growing popularity. Figures showed that around 10% ofBirmingham’s population visit the MAC each year, since its completion this figure is set to rise dramatically. The new facilities and expansion of areas also means the MAC can accommodate more events and exhibitions.

The MAC’s facelift included the design and build of a new three storey central link to include a restaurant/ café, additional 200msq space for performing arts and leisure, first floor double height art gallery and consolidated open plan offices. Major refurbishment works were carried out to the existing theatres, cinema and other arts studios and office spaces. A new covered footbridge over the River Rea was constructed; this enabled wheelchair users a level access route to the ticket office for the first time.

The new build ‘core’ was designed to be at the heart of the MAC, and would enable easy access to all other areas within the complex. The new build is constructed on piled foundations with a suspended ground floor slab, the upper floors are composite metal deck. The new elevations comprise of aluminium framed double glazed curtain walling and windows with built up profiled metal cladding. The roof is an insulated Sarnafil membrane on metal deck, which was chosen to for it’s abilities to assist with sound proofing the building. Disabled access has been drastically improved with the installation of lifts and other DDA apparatus so there is now 95% access to the building at all operational times.

The majority of the space on the ground floor is now double height, offering additional light, ventilation and views over Cannon hill Park. heating and ventilation systems have been updated to make the MAC more energy efficient and there will be much better facilities for families.