Groundbreaking ceremony for The Factory - Manchester's £110m new arts building designed by Rem Koolhaas' OMA

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Saturday 8 July 2017 for The Factory - the flagship cultural venue for the North.

John Glen, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, Tom Bloxham Chair Manchester International Festival, and Sir Nicholas Serota Chair Arts Council England, were among those who attended the groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday 8 July 2017 for The Factory - the flagship cultural venue for the North designed by world leading architects Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Rem Koolhaas.

Manchester International Festival artist Laurie Anderson curated the ceremony which included a special performance by her.

The building’s architects, Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon, were in Manchester for the ceremony and also gave a talk about the project afterwards, chaired by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Gallery.

John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: “The Factory will be a truly world-class cultural venue for the whole of the North to enjoy. The Government’s £78 million investment is helping to deliver this fantastic project for the Northern Powerhouse that will boost jobs, visitor numbers and champion arts and culture across the region. The vision, ambition and innovation of The Factory is inspirational and I am excited to see it develop in the coming years.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This is an historic moment in the creation of what will be a major new cultural asset.

“Not only will the range, scope and scale of cultural opportunities The Factory will provide be unrivalled under one roof, the impact it is set to have on arts education and the development of creative and technical talent will be both unique and significant. 

“It’s what the arts world has been waiting for.”

The Factory is OMA’s first major public building in the UK, a unique venue that will capture the extraordinary creative vision and breadth of Manchester’s cultural life.

It will offer audiences the opportunity to enjoy, in a new world-class facility, the broadest range of art forms and cultural experiences – including dance, theatre, music, opera, visual arts, popular culture and innovative contemporary work incorporating multiple media and technologies.

Ellen van Loon, Partner, OMA said: “Factory provides the ultimate versatile space in which art, theatre and music come together: a platform that allows for experimentation in the cultural scene and cross fertilization between typologies.

“The venue will give MIF, which never had its own building, a fixed theatre that is extremely flexible, blurring the lines between back of house and front of house, inside and outside, art and public culture.  

“Breathing the raw atmosphere of Manchester’s industrial past, its design aims to preserve the city’s rough edge, as a sort of resistance to the pervasive beautification of inner cities.”

The Factory is situated at Allied London’s new St. John’s neighbourhood, formerly home to Granada TV. In April, Allied launched Enterprise City UK; a home for the creative industries and a global destination for enterprise. 

Manchester International Festival will be the operator for the building as well as continuing to deliver the Festival every two years.

The total capital costs of the project are £110m. The project was recently awarded major funding by Arts Council England including £7m capital from the Lottery fund and £9m annual revenue from 2018-22. The capital funding will be paid to Manchester City Council. The total capital cost of the project is £110m comprising £78m Exchequer funding, up to £20m from Manchester City Council contribution, the Lottery funding announced and a minimum fundraising target of £5m.

Manchester International Festival, the operator for Factory, has been awarded £9.730m pa of which £9m is for The Factory and £730k is for the continuation of the biennial festival.

The economic impact of The Factory will be considerable creating or supporting 1,500 full-time jobs and adding £1.1 billion to the city’s economy over a decade.

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