Design by Chetwoods and Branson Coates features new three-storey central building and refurbishment of existing space

Work has started on the £12.5m revitalisation of the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham.

Architects Branson Coates and Chetwoods' new design for the centre, which is used by Midlands Arts Trustees and Sampad, includes refurbishment of parts of the existing space as well as a new three-storey building featuring a gallery, further exhibition space, and a cafe, restaurant and bar.

The new building, which forms around 70% of the project and is being built by Thomas Vale Construction for Birmingham city council, replaces a single-storey link-way between the existing spaces and brings together the Studio Theatre, the Hexagon Theatre and the dance and art studios.

The central link building, standing above the surrounding low-rise elements of the centre, features a facade glazed at ground floor level and clad in aluminium on the two storeys above.

The Studio Theatre will undergo a major overhaul, while the Hexagon Theatre will be upgraded externally. A new rooftop studio will also be created on the existing sports block, while an existing courtyard is being landscaped. A new pedestrian footbridge will be also built to provide access over the river from Queens Ride to the centre.

The building is due to reopen in September 2009.