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OMA wins contest for Manchester’s £110m ‘Factory’ arts venue

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Rem Koolhaas’ OMA has defeated a high-profile shortlist, which included Zaha Hadid and Rafael Viñoly, to win the contest for Manchester’s new £110 million flexible art space – named The Factory

The announcement came as chancellor George Osborne pledged £9 million a year revenue funding for the venue in today’s Autumn Statement (25 November).

Full shortlist

  • Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)
  • Rafael Viñoly Architects
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro
  • Bennetts Associates
  • Zaha Hadid Architecture
  • SimpsonHaugh and Partners
  • Grimshaw Architects
  • Mecanoo International
  • Haworth Tompkins Limited 

A ‘delighted’ Koolhaas said: ‘[We] look forward to realising this radical arts building for Manchester. It is wonderful to participate in the longstanding renaissance of the city, and particularly the Festival, where real experimentation is expected.’

A total of 48 applications were received by competition organiser Manchester City Council (MCC) for the architect role.

Planned to complete in 2019, the 2,200-capacity venue will be constructed on the former Granada Studios site within the city centre. The cost for the full construction and fit out will be £110 million. It will be the first project in the city for the practice which has offices in Rotterdam, New York, Beijing, Hong Kong, Doha and Dubai.

As announced in last year’s Autumn Statement, the project will receive more than £75 million from central government and forms part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative to transform Manchester and its wider region into a ‘cultural and economic counterbalance’ to the capital.

The winning team will work with MCC and Allied London – the council’s development partner for the television centre regeneration – to develop the scheme.

The arena is expected to become the new home of the Manchester International Festival (MIF) and will have a capacity for 2,200 seated observers or 5,000 standing guests.

It is named after Factory Records which started in Manchester in 1978 and promoted a raft of influential bands including Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays.

Ian Simpson won a competition to design the commercial and residential elements of the 370,000m² Granada Studios regeneration job – dubbed St. John’s – last summer.

Judges included MCC leader Richard Leese, Allied London chief executive Michael Ingall and Manchester International Festival chair and Urban Splash co-founder Tom Bloxham.

A planning application will be submitted by May next year with construction expected to commence in 2016.



OMA wins contest for Manchester’s £110m ‘Factory’ arts venue

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