Internationally-renowned architect Zaha Hadid has described the potential to win the £110m Factory cultural centre brief in Manchester as “a coup”, but was pessimistic about her chances after missing out on several UK projects.
“Manchester is a great city, and I’m sure we can do something very nice there,” she told Place North West. “However whenever we do a competition in the UK we don’t win it. Maybe this could be the start of a new thing. We’re certainly working on it.”
Hadid spoke as part of the closing address at the MIPIM UK conference in London on Friday. She gave an overview of projects across the world spanning her 30-year career, including social housing in Vienna, opera houses in Cardiff and Guangzhou in China, and masterplans for Singapore, Beijing and Bilbao.
She has become famous for a distinctive architectural style which uses organic shapes and designs which emphasise the eco-structure of the buildings.
She was critical of recent developments in London, which she described as “high density, low rise, and with no public domain”.
The £110m Factory cultural centre forms part of the £1bn St John’s neighbourhood, being brought forward in a joint venture between Allied London and Manchester City Council. The shortlist of nine architecture practices was released in September, with Rafael Vinoly, SimpsonHaugh and Grimshaw Architects amongst the names competing with Hadid for the brief.
Appointments are set to be made in mid-November, with a view to submitting a planning application by mid-2016.
The Factory has been earmarked as the permanent home of the Manchester International Festival and will provide a venue for theatre, music and art events.
The centre will be funded by a £78m commitment from central government announced in the autumn statement last year.