Rem Koolhaas himself to lead architect’s first significant public project in UK

Rem Koolhaas’ practice OMA has beaten a top-flight shortlist to land the job of designing Manchester’s new arts venue The Factory.

It will be the Dutch architect’s first major public building in the UK. Its British credits so far are the Rothschild Bank headquarters in the City of London and the Gartnavel Maggie’s Centre in Glasgow, plus the 2006 Serpentine Pavilion.

Other contenders for the £110m Manchester project were Zaha Hadid, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Haworth Tompkins, Bennetts, Grimshaw, Simpson Haugh, Mecanoo and Rafael Vinoly.

Gardiner & Theobald has been appointed as cost consultant and employer’s agent, Buro Happold has been appointed structural and civil engineer, Arup has got the acoustic engineer role and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff is fire engineer.

The 7,000-capacity theatre and arts venue will be built on the site of the former Granada TV studios and is named after the city’s famous record label.

It is being billed as a flagship cultural centre for the north and north-west which will commission original works in partnership with national and international organisations. It make and present theatre, music, dance, technology, film and television, and will be large and flexible enough to stage more than one significant work of art at a time.

In his autumn statement last year, chancellor George Osborne pledged £78 million towards the project as part of its Northern Powerhouse initiative. It is part of the wider St John’s regeneration scheme being delivered by Allied London.

OMA’s partners in charge will be Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon and David Gianotten.

Koolhaas said: “I am delighted that we have won the competition to design The Factory and look forward to realising this radical arts building for Manchester. It is wonderful to participate in the longstanding renaissance of the city, and particularly the Festival, where real experimentation is expected.”

Construction is due to begin in 2016 with completion in 2019.