Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, UK

HOK & Percy Thomas Partnership
Refurbished by Broadway Malyan
Date Built
1989 - 1991
King Edwards Road
The Barclaycard Arena occupies a canal-side site in the heart of Birmingham and within easy reach of the International Convention Centre, Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Repertory Theatre and the brand new Library of Birmingham.  It describes itself as, "one of the busiest large scale indoor sporting and entertainment venues in Europe. Since opening in 1991, it has welcomed visitors to over 30 different sports (including indoor rowing!) and an extensive variety of entertainment and music."  It features an Indoor running track that has attracted Grand Prix athletics events and the 2007 European Indoor Athletics Championship.  They add that, "The multi-purpose arena is as flexible as they come - it can stage concerts, entertainment spectaculars, business conferences and exhibitions.  And the adaptable format of The NIA Academy creates a more intimate theatre-style auditorium to accommodate smaller concerts, ballet as well as comedy and theatre."


The building started life as the National Indoor Arena.  When I took the photographs below in February of 2014, the NIA was in the midst of a major refurbishment designed by the architectural practice of Broadway Malyan. 

They say that, "The main architectural component ... is the expansion of the front of house areas to the east of the arena. These are contained within a glazed skin designed to curve slightly within its height, reflecting the light from the canal into the interiors and emphasising the visibility of the front of house areas to the surrounding city. Other key design elements include remodelling the concourse, expanding the food and beverage offer, reconfiguring access to the arena floor, consolidating back of house facilities, redesigning the box office, creating an iconic external visual marker and incorporating a sustainability strategy."  They add that, "To achieve this, designs have been conceived from the outset as deliverable by a complex phasing strategy, ensuring the operations of the venue experience minimum disruption, and audiences share the excitement as the project progresses."