Planning approval for new landmark building in Manchester designed by OMA

The plans for Factory, the flagship cultural venue for the North designed by world-leading architects Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Rem Koolhaas, were granted planning approval by Manchester City Council today.

The project is OMA’s first major public building in the UK and is led by project partners Ellen van Loon and Rem Koolhaas. Construction is due to begin in Spring 2017.

Factory will be a groundbreaking new venue driven by the extraordinary creative vision and breadth of Manchester’s cultural life. It will form part of the vibrant 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.

Ellen van Loon, OMA partner in charge of the project, said:

“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.”

Manchester International Festival (MIF) will operate Factory as well as continuing to deliver the festival every two years. The new venue will offer audiences the opportunity to enjoy year round, in a new world-class facility, the broadest range of art forms and cultural experiences – including dance, theatre, music, opera, visual arts, spoken word, popular culture and innovative contemporary work incorporating multiple media and technologies.  Artists from across the world will be invited to create new work in the building’s extraordinary spaces.

Factory will accelerate economic growth in the region. Its economic impact will be considerable creating or supporting almost 1,500 full-time jobs and adding £1.1 billion to the city’s economy over a decade. It will make a direct contribution to the growth of creative industries in the North, and reduce the dependency on London as the provider of creative industries training and employment. It will develop partnerships with the city’s leading higher education institutions and will further support the city’s drive for high calibre graduate talent retention through job creation.

The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital & Culture, said:

“I want to blast open access to the very best world-class art and culture we have to offer in this country. So we’re investing £78 million into Factory in Manchester that will provide a further boost to the brilliant arts, culture and technology scene in the North. On top of that, it will also help local tourism, generate jobs and provide training opportunities for the next generation of British creatives.”

Tom Bloxham, Chairman, Manchester International Festival (MIF) said:

“This is a great show of confidence in the cultural future of the North. In just five festivals Manchester International Festival has established itself as one of the major international arts festivals, and we are delighted to now be able to add to the city’s and the country’s cultural offer all year round through our programming at Factory.”