Having begun its initial phase in 2017, the £4.5 million transformation of the National Exhibition Centre has now seen the second phase of the recladding exercise completed.

Tasked by the NEC Group to create a finished product that would “improve the kerb appeal and leave memories” for their 2.1 million annual visitors, whilst also being both affordable and sustainable for the next ten years, Acivico’s Principal Architect Alan McBeth had a short window to apply his innovative touch.

The outcome for the second phase was an expansive 12277m² of specially designed metal, now known as zebra cladding, to the back of house buildings. The material was sourced from Sweden and sliced up on site to produce an innovative and eye-catching composition, that provides a new lease of aesthetic life to the buildings.

Furthermore, the cladding provides protection to the existing classing behind, as the flat flexwrap membrane was sprayed with an acrylic coated solvent ink by Printable, a Dutch printing company, using designed scalable vector graphics by advertising agency McCann Central. In turn, this ensured the graphics on the membrane would not fade for a guaranteed 10 years, while keeping costs lower and time spent to a minimum- compared to the trade standard methods of printing graphics on the side of buildings.

Alan McBeth described the innovative techniques implemented to achieve this design;

“We had to consider the best and most economical way to clad the ‘back of house’ areas of all the halls and it made sense just to use just a single skin of basic profiled metal sheeting and [we] came up with a very simple idea of a twin colour camouflage effect that was easy to build and totally original, which complements the rest of the project. It has now become known by the team as the Zebra cladding and was perfectly executed by SPV cladding.”

The completion of this phase was soundly within budget and aligned to the agreed timescales. The Zebra cladding has positively changed the look and feel of the iconic Birmingham based venue which hosts over 500 events annually.