Rem Koolhaas Design For Manchester’s Factory Arts Centre Gets Planning Approval




Designs for Manchester’s £110m Factory arts centre have been approved and will now go to the next stage of realisation. The Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon from architects OMA design will transform a former warehouse into a global quality multi-purpose venue, housing two performance spaces – a theatre and a warehouse area for art, performance, and video.

The now approved plans for a new £110m arts venue in Manchester will complete the cultural transformation of this vibrant city. Located on part of the former Granada Studios site, £78m of the budget is coming from the government.

This project has been accomplished through the energy of Maria Balshaw the dynamic director of the Whitworth Gallery, soon to be Director of the Tate organisation.

The warehouse area will hold 5,000 people at standing events like concerts, while a more traditional theatre will be The venues will be able to hold 1,600 all-seated or 2,300 with the downstairs seats removed. It will be run by the Manchester International Festival. It was originally planned to open in time for the festival in 2019, but will not be ready until the following year.

The venue was conceived as part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse plans. The old Granada Television studios lot is to be redeveloped, with part reserved for The Factory. It could host visual art events, plays, dance, opera, gigs, classical concerts, circus, conferences and digital events. The Manchester International Festival, which takes place every two years, will run the venue. When the festival is not on, the venue is designed to stage other world-class cultural events.

Much of this project has been accomplished through the energy of Maria Balshaw the dynamic director of the Whitworth Gallery, soon to be Director of the Tate organisation. The Factory, currently under development at the old Granada Studios site is part of the government’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ project will see an incredible transformation. Balshaw (who is also Manchester’s cultural attaché) and Alex Poots were instrumental in developing plans for the new space. They presented their proposal to the Chancellor last year, and ‘Rather surprisingly, George Osborne thought it was an excellent idea.’ The Government has now put £78 million towards it.


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