Manchester Factory architects announced

Published: 2 December 2015
Reporter: David Chadderton

The Factory Manchester rendering, exterior Credit: Copyright: OMA. Image Courtesy of The Factory Manchester
The Factory Manchester rendering, interior Credit: Copyright: OMA. Image Courtesy of The Factory Manchester

It has been announced that Rem Koolhaas’s Office for Metropolitan Architecture has won the international competition to design The Factory Manchester, OMA's first major public building in the UK.

Named after Manchester's former Factory Records music label, which also ran the world-famous Haçienda night club, The Factory will be a venue for a wide range of art forms including theatre, music, dance, technology, film and TV, commissioning new work in partnership with national and international partners.

The Factory will form part of the new St John's regeneration scheme by Allied London and Manchester City Council on the 15-acre site of the former Granada TV Studios, incorporating residential and workspace buildings plus hotels, food and drink retailers and open green spaces.

It is claimed that investment in arts institutions has made Manchester the second most-visited city in England. Central Government pledged £78m in last year's Autumn Statement towards the total budget of up to £110.

Chancellor George Osborne said, "one of the biggest economic investments we can make in our nation is in our extraordinary arts heritage. That’s why, as part of our package for the Northern Powerhouse, we have backed The Factory with significant investment because we know it will provide an outstanding new arts venue to be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds for generations to come."

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said, "the importance of The Factory cannot be overstated. It will be of international significance, the cultural anchor for the next phase of economic and cultural regeneration in Manchester, Greater Manchester and beyond. It will help power Manchester and the wider region towards becoming a genuine cultural and economic counterbalance to London, as well as being a place where inspirational art is created."

OMA's projects include Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2015) the Fondazione Prada in Milan (2015) and the CCTV headquarters in Beijing. In the UK, its projects have included the headquarters for Rothschild Bank in the City of London (2011) and a Maggie's cancer care centre in Glasgow (2011).

Currently under development are the Taipei Performing Arts Centre, Qatar National Library, Qatar Foundation Headquarters, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Prince Plaza in Shenzhen and Faena Arts Center in Miami.

Rem Koolhaas, founder of OMA, said, "I am delighted that we have won the competition to design The Factory and 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."

Construction of the building is due to begin in 2016 and scheduled for completion in 2019.