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International Convention Centre
Symphony Hall and the ICC, Birmingham (geograph 4635383).jpg
Exterior view of the venue (c.2015)
Address 8 Centenary Square
Birmingham B1 2EA
England
Coordinates 52°28′44.12″N 1°54′38.61″W / 52.4789222°N 1.9107250°W / 52.4789222; -1.9107250
Owner NEC Group
Operator NEC Group
Built 1984–91
Architect
  • Percy Thomas Partnership
  • Renton Howard Wood Levin
Inaugurated 12 June 1991 (1991-06-12)
Opened 2 April 1991 (1991-04-02)
Renovated 2015–16
Construction cost
£200 million
(£463 million in 2018 dollars2018)
Theatre seating
2,262 (Symphony Hall)
1,500 (Conference Auditorium)
Enclosed space
 • Total space 9,104 m2 (97,990 sq ft)
 • Exhibit hall floor 4,151 m2 (44,680 sq ft)
 • Breakout/meeting 1,927 m2 (20,740 sq ft)

The International Convention Centre (ICC) is a major conference venue in Birmingham, England. The centre incorporates Symphony Hall and faces Centenary Square, with another entrance leading to the canals of Birmingham. The Westside area, which includes Brindleyplace, is opposite the building on the other side of the canal. The centre is owned and operated by the NEC Group, who is also responsible for the nearby Arena Birmingham, just to the west of the complex.

History and construction

The building was designed by Percy Thomas Partnership and Renton Howard Wood Levin. The foundation stone was laid by Jacques Delors as a start of another 4 years and 5 months of construction. In all, over 1,500 workers helped construct the building. Over 60,000 cubic metres of concrete were used. The site was opened on 12 June 1991 by Queen Elizabeth II. Funds of £49.7 million were provided by the European Council. The total cost of construction was £200 million.

It is on the site of the Prince of Wales Theatre and Bingley Hall, the world's first purpose-built exhibition hall, opened in 1850. Also on the site were numerous houses fronting King Edward's Place as well as a brewery and inn. On the eastern side of this was King Alfreds Place which was also fronted by houses and a hotel. A listed Victorian cast iron urinal was removed before construction began, on condition that it be re-erected. Although it was taken to Tyseley Locomotive Works, it has never been restored.

The ICC hosted the 24th G8 summit in May 1998.

On a specified date in August, the building is used by companies, organisations and/ or individuals as part of "Discovery Day" which features events co-ordinated all over the city. In 2004, an area was used as an indoor country fair. The fair featured a Ferris wheel and small rides. In spring 2008, the hall hosted its first-party political conference, for the Labour Party. The venue has since hosted party conferences for all three main political parties over successive years.

Architecture

International Convention Centre, Birmingham, mall
The Central Mall, Birmingham ICC
02 International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham UK
ICC evening view from across Birmingham Canal Old Line

The façade of the building is covered in blue-tinted windows and white stone cladding. The entrance is adorned by a neon sculpture, by Ron Hasledon, named "Birdlife" which hangs above it. The entrance is used as a small performance area and small protests are sometimes held there. The south side of the building features a link bridge to the Hyatt Regency Hotel. When the pre-fabricated connecting bridge was delivered, it was found to be too short, as the plans for the hotel had been modified, moving it away from the ICC slightly, but the bridge makers had not been informed.

Inside the building, numerous connecting bridges and walkways line the atrium overhead connecting the ten halls and ten additional meeting rooms. The ICC has a total capacity of 8,000 delegates. The largest hall, Hall 3, can hold up to 3,000 delegates when fully using its 3,050m2 space.

Room Floor Area (m2) Maximum Capacity
Conference Auditorium (Hall 1) 1,502
Symphony Hall 2,262
Hall 3 3,050 3,000
Hall 4 806 830
Hall 5 300
Hall 6 113 120
Hall 7 148 140
Hall 8 319 306
Hall 9 296 300
Hall 10 236 250
Hall 11 360 345

Within the mall, there are a number of concessions, including a branch of Castle Fine Art which sells original paintings and prints, a WHSmith store, coffee shops including a Starbucks store as well as the box office for tickets for both Symphony Hall and other local theatres. Hotdesking space is also available with computers providing internet access.

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