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FCBS £35m digital arts building for Manchester Met gets go-ahead

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Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ (FCBS) £35 million digital arts building for Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) featuring a 22m-tall vertical LED light wall has won planning permission 

The practice’s plan for a five-storey building on MMU’s All Saints Campus was approved by Manchester City Council’s planning committee last night (13 December). 

The 5,600m² building will provide a new home for the School of Digital Arts (SODA) and will provide digital innovation laboratories, media exhibition space, seminar rooms, production suites and office accommodation.

The front of the building has an integrated LED light wall behind black metal rainscreen cladding, and the scheme includes a new pedestrianised street between the Benzie Building and the SODA.

The SODA facility has been designed to support Greater Manchester’s creative and digital industries and create a ‘digital skills powerhouse’ in the city. 

It is supported by grant funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and an advisory board chaired by film director Danny Boyle. It will house subjects including film, animation, UX design, photography, games design AI and more.

FCBS partner Simon Doody said: ‘We are thrilled for our client, Manchester Metropolitan University, that planning permission has been secured for this educationally significant project. 

’The building will house a new generation of graduates that will develop skills to respond to future shifts in digital media – shifts that are shaping all of our lives.

Recommending approval, Manchester City Council planners said FCBS’s designs for the SODA facility would result in a ‘high-quality building appropriate to its context’. 

Fcbs digital wall

Fcbs digital wall

Project data

Location Manchester
Type of project
Higher Education
Client Manchester Metropolitan University / Turner & Townsend
Architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Landscape architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Planning consultant Barton Willmore
Structural engineer Buro Happold
M&E consultant Buro Happold
Quantity surveyor Turner & Townsend
Fire consultant JGA
Completion date 2021
Gross internal floor area 5,600sqm
Total cost £35m


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