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OMA lodges plans for Manchester’s £110m ‘Factory’ arts venue

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Rem Koolhaas’s OMA has submitted plans for Manchester’s new £110 million flexible art space, The Factory

The 12,077m² scheme, on the site of the former Granada TV Studios, is the first public project in the UK by the Dutch practice. 

The scheme, which will straddle Water Street, features a 7,000 capacity venue and involves alterations to the Grade II-listed Colonnaded Railway Viaduct. The arts centre will be the permanent home for the Manchester International Festival, currently spread across a number of venues in the city.

In 2014, the government committed £78 million to the project, with Manchester City Council contributing the remaining funds. The project is also set to benefit from government funding of £9 million a year from 2018/19.

Backed by developer Allied London in partnership with the city council, the arts centre is part of the wider St John’s development masterplan, which will provide  2,400 homes, three hotels and commercial space in Manchester city centre. The building is set to complete in 2019.

OMA defeated a high-profile shortlist, including Zaha Hadid and Rafael Viñoly, to win the arts centre contest in 2015.

At the time 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.’

City planners have already given the green light to a 51-storey building at St John’s Place designed by SimpsonHaugh and Partners on a neighbouring plot as part of the ongoing development of the former studios site.

In 2014, the Manchester-based practice won a competition to design the commercial and residential elements of the 370,000m² regeneration job.

Plan of oma's proposed factory in manchester

Plan of oma’s proposed factory in manchester


View the planning application here

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