Construction on the Factory, on the site of the former Granada TV headquarters, is due to begin next year and completed in 2019. The plan is that it will present performance and art across the spectrum such as theatre, music, dance, technology, film, TV and scientific advancements. The budget for The Factory Manchester is estimated to be up to £110m. The Government pledged £78m in last year’s Autumn Statement towards the project as part of its Northern Powerhouse initiative.
The Factory will be a new kind of large-scale venue that captures the extraordinary creative vision and depth of Manchester’s cultural life. It will be a flagship cultural centre for the North and North West, commissioning original works in partnership with leading national and international organisations. The Factory will build on the success of the Manchester International Festival.
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."
The Factory will make and present a wide range of art forms and culture, under one roof. It will be an inspiring space where art is created, not just hosted. 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 7,000. Construction is due to begin in 2016 with completion in 2019.
OMA’s projects include the recently completed Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2015) the Fondazione Prada in Milan (2015) and the CCTV headquarters in Beijing. In the UK their projects have included the headquarters for Rothschild Bank in the City of London (2011) and a Maggie's cancer care Centre in Glasgow (2011). They also created the Serpentine Pavilion in 2006. 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 won the Pritzker Prize, the world most important prize for architecture, in 2000.
The Factory will form a part of the new St John's neighbourhood, which is being developed by Allied London in partnership with Manchester City Council, on the site of the former Granada TV Studios. This 15-acre site will form a new neighbourhood.
Investment in arts institutions has played a significant role in making Manchester the second most-visited city in England and The Factory is seen as a real cultural counterbalance to London that will develop, train and retain creative talent. Research has shown that there is a demonstrable need for such a new venue, which will serve a catchment area of almost 10m people within a 90-minute drive time. It is calculated that within a decade it will help create the equivalent of nearly 2,500 jobs adding nearly £140m to the local economy.
"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," said the Chancellor George Osborne.
"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," add Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council.
Michael Ingall, Allied London’s Chief Executive said, "We are delighted to be playing our part in such a wide-reaching community and cultural project. We were delighted to see the quality of responses from the design teams but particularly pleased with the choice of architect, having studied several important projects designed by OMA over recent years."