Sheppard Robson wins Contact brief

Arts organisation Contact has appointed Sheppard Robson to carry out a £6m remodelling of its building on Manchester Oxford Road.

Contact is contemporary arts venue with a focus on the work of young people. The project aims to improve the capacity and flexibility of the performance and media spaces and redesign the public areas including box-office, bar, café, meeting spaces and young people's project areas.

The scheme will also include the overhaul of back of house spaces, including office, training and hire facilities and new-build elements to improve the overall capacity of the venue by around 3,000 sq ft.

The existing structure, which was designed by Alan Short & Associates and completed in 1999, will be fully retained, with additional features including improved lighting and landscaping.

The project is being part-funded by a £3.85m Arts Council grant, with development and project management advice and assistance provided by University of Manchester and Bruntwood.

James Jones, associate partner at Sheppard Robson, said: "The team's ambitions are to significantly improve the experiences of visitors, performers and staff whilst also looking at how Contact can make the most of its setting along Corridor Manchester, which is quickly becoming the commercial, educational and cultural spine of the city.

"As a practice, we have been heavily involved in shaping the Corridor through recently completed projects such as Citylabs, Birley and the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons."

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