In an article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote responds to the recent news that OMA, based in Rotterdam, have won the competition to design the British city of Manchester's new "ultra-flexible" arts venue. The Factory, so-named because of city's rich musical heritage, will be one of the largest cultural projects of its kind. Having gained and maintained financial support from Westminster, the building—which must be able to transform from a 2,200-seat theatre into an open 5,000-capacity space—is a flagship project for the British government.
The renderings show a huge box, something akin to an aircraft hangar (even showing a blimp moored inside to suggest the scale) and from this sprouts an enigmatic tent bulging with programming. An amphitheatre effect is achieved by a broad stepped slope leading to the venue — an idea reminiscent of the architects’ concert hall in Porto and their Prada Epicentre in New York, places where culture and consumption are viewed as twin zeniths of public life in the city.
You can read the article in full, here [paywall].