IT’s been anything but a smooth conveyor belt ride for The Factory. Our new multimillion pound arts centre, which will be the permanent home of Manchester International Festival (MIF), has stalled more times than Brexit since was announced in December 2014. The UK Treasury confirmed they’d be funding the project, then estimated at £78m, however it was revealed the following year that the venue would actually cost £110. As for who would be stumping up the remaining £32m? Its commissioner, Manchester City Council. The Factory will be one of the biggest developments of its type in Europe OMA
The project finally gained approval in January 2017, however logistical issues meant that appointed architects OMA – the practise founded by acclaimed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas – had to redesign the building in 2018, taking its cost to £112m.
Fast forward to November 2018 and it was revalued yet again – this time at £130.62m, taking total council contributions to £40.57m. Phew.
Now, following a period of silence, there’s finally some good news as this week saw The Factory hit a construction milestone. Since the start of 2019, its structure has become increasingly visible at its site in St John’s – the new neighbourhood being developed at the former site of Old Granada Studios – including an imposing steel frame, stairways, lift shafts and a structure that will house lifts capable of bringing two articulated trucks up into the building from street level.
Over the last two days, the massive proscenium truss, which will form part of the 1600 capacity auditorium, has been installed. Weighing 125 tonnes, this huge steel structure has been designed by the structural engineers BuroHappold and constructed by the Bury based firm William Hare Limited. The auditorium forms part of the major new complex, which will include a 5,000 capacity space and is designed by OMA to be one of the most flexible buildings of its kind.[…]
Continue reading: The Factory – £130m arts centre reaches major milestone