We take a retrospective look at a prestigious project where Pendock has made a difference to building’s aesthetics and where the solution has stood the test of time.
In 2006, as part of a three-year long venue improvement programme at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, more than 40 bespoke column casings from Pendock were installed in its newly refurbished piazza.
The decorative casings, from the Pendock Radius range, were specified by Seymour Harris Architecture as part of the £10.5 million phase-one project, which concentrated primarily on the refurbishment and upgrading of the main piazza area’s interior and facilities.
Three different styles of casing were used on the project, which was carried out by main contractor Laing O’Rourke. The building’s original 39 square section structural columns were concealed with either circular or extended circular column casings which span the floor to ceiling height of around 4 metres.
Manufactured from pre-formed plywood, the decorative outer surface of the casings were pre-finished with a gloss Formica laminate, which is not only highly durable, but also integrated with the piazza’s updated and more stylish contemporary interior.
In addition to these, a series of narrow elliptical Pendock casings, finished in red Formica, were designed and installed to provide highly visible signalling of the entrances to each of the halls. Standing 2m high and 3m in length, the ‘hall entrance fins’, incorporate chrome numbers to identify individual halls, which can be seen easily from a distance of 100m.
Overall, the wider improvement programme, which also includes the exhibition halls, conference suites and car parks, brought the total investment to around £40 million when it was completed in 2008.
The NEC’s venue facilities manager, explained at the time, that: “The main piazza is essentially the public face of the NEC, often being the first point of contact that visitors and exhibitors have with the venue, so it’s important that it creates the right impression.
“This is the most significant and far-reaching improvement programme we’ve undertaken since the NEC opened in 1976. In addition to upgrading the facilities, signage and communications, the visual appeal of the interior is a key part of the programme.”
He added: “By concealing the purely functional concrete columns with Pendock’s durable and aesthetic casings, they not only integrate with the overall design scheme, but also add to the more contemporary look of the building’s interior.”
‘Radius’ column casings are part of a complete range of Pendock decorative casing products, which includes ‘Linea’ building linings and ‘Profiles’ casings for services. The company also manufactures washroom & cubicle solutions, LST radiator guards and screed ducting systems.