One of Manchester’s huge, new development projects took a big step forward when the architect to design it was announced. It will be one of the world’s high profile architects, Rem Koolhaas from Holland who fronts up his company, OMA. To be honest I hadn’t heard of his either but a quick Google showed me I had actually seen and admired his work. It was he who designed the extraordinary CCTV Building for the Beijing Olympics a few years back. Here’s a reminder.
He does look a bit serious I have to say.
Here are a few early pictures of what he’s got planned. It’s going to be one of the highlights of the new St. John’s Quarter on the site of the old Granada Studios. The area will be a mixture of housing and offices between St. John’s Gardens and the River Irwell. Part will have a village feel with bars and restaurants. I’m thinking The Archers goes to the Northern Quarter. By the river though there will be huge, residential skyscrapers with one almost as tall as the the Hilton Tower. There will be hotels including the conversion of the Granada office and studio complex into the 5* Hotel Grand (or is it Grande?). We are promised a hotel of Las Vegas excess. And then The Factory of course. This will be the home of the Manchester International Festival when it arrives in town every two years. It’s back in 2017 and they want this building up and running for the 2019 festival. For the rest of the time it will be the venue for huge arts projects as they arrive in town.
And all this isn’t ‘pie in the sky.’ Allied London, the development company behind the amazingly successful Spinningfields development is behind it all and they will deliver. And the government has thrown sheds loads of money at The Factory as part of their Northern Powerhouse project which is designed to revitalise the old, industrial cities of the North. While this project is supposed to affect cities from Hull to Liverpool along the M62 corridor, with extensions to Sheffield and Newcastle, it’s actually Manchester that people think of when the project is mentioned.