We’re part of the team appointed to design and deliver Manchester’s newest flexible arts space, The Factory

Manchester City Council has announced the team appointed to design and deliver Manchester’s newest flexible arts space. The Factory is due for completion in 2019. The design of the £84m project will be led by Allied London, with Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) as architect and Buro Happold as engineer.

Buro Happold is providing both civil and structural and building services engineering as an Integrated Engineering Design service for the new development, which will be constructed on the former Granada Studios site within the city centre, as part of the St. John’s Masterplan being developed by Allied London.

The Factory will build on the success of the Manchester International Festival and create innovative commissions all year round, playing a significant role in the next phase of economic and cultural evolution in the North. The Factory will be large enough and flexible enough to allow more than one new work of significant scale to be shown and/or created at the same time, accommodating combined audiences of up to 6,800.

Speaking more about Buro Happold’s involvement, Mark Phillip explains; “The Factory is a landmark project for Manchester and its ongoing cultural transformation. Its capacity and flexibility, to produce and showcase innovative performances, will position it among the best venues in the world. As engineers we’re hugely excited to be working with Manchester City Council, Allied London and OMA, to deliver their vision for The Factory.”

Stephen Jolly, cultural sector leader for Buro Happold and the lead on building services design, outlines the technical challenges. “The building is unique in its form and function; the architecture is an exciting response to the brief and our engineering solutions will provide the infrastructure to facilitate the highest levels of performance and the greatest level of flexibility that is in the spirit of the festival’s ‘found-space’ philosophy. Our approach will help to maximise the social and economic value of the venue to St. Johns, the City and the regions.”

In the Autumn Statement of 2014 it was confirmed that the project would receive £78 million from central government, provided by Arts Council England. The Factory forms part of the initiative to transform Manchester and its wider region into a ‘cultural and economic counterbalance’ to the capital.

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