Ground broken on £35m School of Digital Arts

Construction has started on a 55,600 sq ft building, to expand Manchester Metropolitan University’s facilities for students in the creative digital and tech sectors.

Known as SODA, the development is due for completion in spring 2021, with fit-out completed in time for the September term.

The five-storey school is being built on Higher Chatham Street next to the Manchester School of Art’s Benzie Building.

SODA will house a digital innovation and UX lab, film studios, green screens, edit suites, sound, music and production studios, workshops and professional networks. The facility will allow 1,000 students a year to study courses such as animation, filmmaking, photography, UX and games design, and AI.

It is funded jointly by Manchester Metropolitan University, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, the latter of which invested £14.9m.

The school was designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley and is being built by construction partner Kier.

Penny Macbeth, dean of Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “It is hugely exciting to see the stunning architectural plans for the SODA building starting to take shape. Alongside this, we are building the new SODA curriculum and developing an ambitious research agenda, inspired by the University’s strengths in digital innovation, creativity and collaboration. We are looking forward to welcoming our first cohort of students in 2021.”

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