Move over London—Manchester is on the rise as an arts and culture capital in the north of England. City councilors just gave the green light to the Factory – a £110 million Rem Koolhaas-designed arts center that marks OMA’s first major public building in the United Kingdom. The design of the boxy white arts venue won an international competition, and it will be “ultra flexible” to accommodate a variety of art forms and performances.
OMA revealed the Factory designs back in 2015, when the Dutch firm beat out a shortlist of acclaimed practices including Zaha Hadid and Mecanoo. Located in Manchester’s St. John’s neighborhood, the massive glass cube construction will transform the underused area—the site of the former Granada Studios—into a world-class center for arts and culture. The Factory is also expected to generate 1,500 jobs and boost the area’s economy by £1.1 billion through the growth of creative industries in the north.
“From classical opera and ballet to large-scale performances and experimental productions, Factory in Manchester provides the perfect opportunity to create the ultimate versatile space in which art, theatre and music come together: a platform for a new cultural scene,” said Ellen van Loon, the OMA partner in charge of the project. Construction is expected to begin this spring.