The development of First Street as a new creative and commercial quarter for the city has reached a milestone with the appointment of a design team for its new cultural facility.
Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company are joining forces in a stunning purpose-built £19 million new home on the northern side of First Street. The new cultural facility will act as a catalyst for further development in the wider First Street area and help unlock up to 10,000 jobs.
Led by award-winning architects Mecanoo, whose high profile projects also include Manchester’s Co-operative Quarter and the new Birmingham city library, the design team will lead on developing the design for the new cultural facility. Mecanoo have designed a range of world-renowned arts venues including the Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts in Taiwan and the Shenzen Cultural Complex in China.
The team also includes two practices with presences in Manchester – Buro Happold, who are multi-disciplinary engineers, and quantity surveyors and design manager Davis Langdon (AECOM) -plus theatre planners theatreadvies bv.
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure for Manchester City Council, said: “This appointment demonstrates Manchester’s commitment to world-class arts, which is also shown by high profile events such as Manchester International Festival. At a time when the arts world is facing severe cuts, this is a tremendous opportunity which will help support and attract jobs as well as creating a leading cultural attraction.We see the arts as a key ingredient in the mix which attracts investors and visitors to our city.”
Dave Moutrey, director and chief executive of Cornerhouse, said: “The appointment of the design team is a significant milestone for the project. Mecanoo’s submission really captured the vision we have for a flexible, vibrant, welcoming cultural space with a great social atmosphere. They also really understand the importance of consultation and engaging our audiences as a key part of the design process.”
Chris Honer, artistic director of the Library Theatre Company, said: “‘This building will be an engine-room to produce all kinds of new things in art, theatre, and film, and to foster a multitude of creative collaborations. It’ll be a great resource for the city.”
Francine Houben, founding architect and creative director of Mecanoo, said: “It’s an exciting challenge for us to design the new cultural facility in such a way that it will be a catalyst for First Street and create a complex which will interweave with the surroundings of Manchester.”
This appointment demonstrates the confidence that the Ask: Manchester City Council partnership have in creating a special new anchor destination for First Street, and represents the first wave of investment set to sweep across the project in forthcoming months.
Detailed design work will now begin with a view to starting on site in summer 2012. It is anticipated the new facility will open in spring 2014.