Indicative CGI for The Factory by Simpson Haugh & Partners produced as part of the St John's masterplan

Starchitects shortlisted for £110m Factory

Rafael Viñoly, Zaha Hadid, and SimpsonHaugh are amongst a list of nine architecture practices shortlisted to bring forward the £110m The Factory arts centre at the former ITV Granada site in Manchester.

Potential candidates to advise on various aspects of the project have been chosen from a long list of 86 organisations to fulfil the brief across seven design areas, including architect, theatre consultant, structural and civil engineers, building services engineers, cost consultant, fire engineers, and acoustic engineers.

There were 48 applications were received for the architect category alone.

Appointments are set to be made in mid-November with a view to a planning application being submitted mid-2016. Construction is planned to start early 2017 with a target opening date of summer 2019.

The construction of The Factory is part of the £1.2bn plans for the St John’s neighbourhood, which will see the delivery of up to 3,000 residential units, 600,000 sq ft of workspace, and a mix of hotels and cultural buildings.

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.

Manchester City Council will directly procure the design teams and contractor, supported by development partner Allied London. Allied London will ensure co-ordination between The Factory and the wider St John’s regeneration scheme, which is a joint venture between Allied London and the city council. Allied London will be responsible for delivering the facility.

The centre will be funded by a £78m commitment from central government announced in the autumn statement last year.

The city council will develop the rest of the funding package, which will include third party support, as part of the detailed business case. Proposals will be brought forward later this year.

The full shortlist of companies across the project are:

Architectural services

  • Rafael Viñoly Architects
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro
  • Bennetts Associates
  • Office for Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.) Stedebouw B.V.
  • Zaha Hadid
  • Simpson Haugh & Partners
  • Grimshaw Architects
  • Mecanoo International
  • Haworth Tompkins

Theatre consultants

  • Fisher Dachs Associates
  • Charcoalblue
  • Ove Arup & Partners
  • Theatre Projects Consultants
  • Theatreplan

Structural and civil engineers

  • Expedition Engineering
  • Ove Arup & Partners
  • WSP UK
  • Buro Happold
  • Mott MacDonald

Building Services Engineers

  • Ove Arup & Partners
  • Buro Happold
  • WSP UK (Trading as WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff )
  • Max Fordham
  • Mott MacDonald

Cost consultant

  • Turner & Townsend Cost Management
  • Gardiner & Theobald
  • Gleeds Cost Management
  • EC Harris
  • Rider Levett Bucknall

Fire engineers

  • Ove Arup & Partners
  • WSP UK (Trading as WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff )
  • Buro Happold
  • Hoare Lea & Partners

Acoustic engineers

  • Ove Arup & Partners
  • Building Design Partnership
  • Buro Happold
  • Kahle Acoustics
  • Threshold Acoustics

Your Comments

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Just not another Simpson Haugh & Partners design…let’s not let them monopolize contemporary Manchurian architecture.

By Arthur

Fingers crossed for Haworth Tompkins or Bennetts. Really good architects, rather than questionable “starchitects”

By Gene Walker

Zaha Hadid please.No more Simpson horrors and even worse Mecanoo.They are responsible for HOME.That is ghastly.I could have done a better design on the back of a fag packet.This building will be of international importance and the people making the decision need to think on.

By Elephant

Settled. Let’s award the contract to ‘Elephant’ and ‘Arthur’. Sounds like they’re the ones, why weren’t they on the shortlist?

By Yawn

I don’t think the Council could afford Hadid even though Sir Howard is desperate to have something of her’s in the city!

By MancLass

Please not another Simpson – city council love in. Hadid has my vote

By optimist

The last time the city held a competition like this we ended up with the bland HOME within the car crash that is First Street. Hoping for genuinely world class this time around. What also concerns me is that the concept seems to be too vague, like another Urbis.

By PNW reader

it will no doubt be given to those with the cheapest bid and we will finish up with yet another drab office block,which could be anywhere.Spinningfields was supposed to have the amazing Norman Foster skyscraper and we are getting a nineteen storey Ian Simpson baby Beetham.If we don’t get some imagination around these decisions,we will finish up with half a dozen Piccadilly Garden horrors all over the city.

By Elephant

I am amazed they haven’t got Urban Splash in the mix somewhere, another city council love in!

By MancLass