Project Update – The Factory

Culture and the arts have always been a big part of what makes Manchester the place it is and will have a key role to play in the city’s recovery as it reopens and rebuilds itself over the coming months and years.

Backed by Manchester City Council, HM Government and Arts Council England, The Factory will be proudly rooted in the city, bringing jobs, training, and creative opportunities to local people.

Managed by Manchester International Festival (MIF), The Factory will commission and present a year-round programme of bold new work across all art-forms by the world’s most exciting artists.

It will strengthen Manchester’s reputation as an internationally important centre for culture and the creative industries and as one of Europe’s most exciting visitor destinations.


The Factory is already making an impact on the city skyline.

The first major public building in the UK to be designed by world-leading architects OMA, The Factory is located next to the Science and Industry Museum in the new St John’s neighbourhood, formerly home to Granada Studios. Uniquely flexible in its design, the building includes a 1,600 capacity theatre, a 5,000 capacity warehouse, and two new riverside outdoor spaces, which will be programmed with free events. Procured through North West Construction Hub and constructed by Laing O’Rourke and engineered by many talented and well-known UK design firms, work is due to complete towards the end of 2022.


Recent progress on The Factory build

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, and the need for enhanced safety measures and social distancing, significant progress with construction has been made over the last few months as the team has adopted new methods and techniques.

The structural steelwork in the warehouse is now complete, as are the precast elements of the roof which is now being covered. Work on the south elevation of the auditorium is also nearing completion and work has commenced on the west elevation. This work has seen around 15,000m2 of panels used – the equivalent of 27 tennis courts!

Considerate Constructors Scheme Laing O’Rourke is committed to changing the image of construction. We are signed up to the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) illustrating our commitment to being a considerate, clean and respectful neighbour. As guests in your community, we promise that all Laing O’Rourke employees will act courteously and with respect. In the unlikely event you experience otherwise and would like to make a complaint, the CCS can be contacted on 0800 783 1423 – however we recommend that you contact the site project team in the first instance as we take all grievances and disruption seriously.


We’re helping the people of Greater Manchester to start new careers

The Factory will add £1.1 billion to the economy and create up to 1,500 direct and indirect jobs for the region. Its pioneering programme of skills, training and engagement will benefit local people and the next generation of creative talent from across the city. 48 construction apprenticeships have already been created for local people by Laing O’Rourke, with more to follow as the build continues. A raft of work placements and other projects to give young people an insight into the landmark building project have also so far reached over 1,000 students, with more planned for the future.

This last year has also seen the setting up of Factory Futures, a major programme designed to help young people who are unemployed to learn new skills through work experience, traineeships and paid internships in order to start new careers in the creative industries. Launched by MIF, it aims to create up to 1,400 training places, and digital learning and engagement opportunities for as many as 10,000 unemployed young people over the next five years.


We’re putting Manchester’s residents at the centre of all we do.

The Factory will offer countless opportunities for people from across the region to come together, be creative and exchange ideas. Throughout the construction phase, the team has put community
engagement at the heart of the project. A range of education programmes, work experience, employment and homelessness support initiatives have been delivered – so far benefitting over 5,000 local people.

This includes a series of virtual tours that have recently been developed to give students an insight into this landmark building.

This month, inspired by The Factory, pupils across Manchester have taken on their own creative construction challenge building model houses and planning their own mini-arts festival based around MIF’s Festival in My House series, developing skills and knowledge in construction and engineering.


The Factory has already launched in virtual space

Ahead of The Factory’s completion artists have been invited to create online artworks for Virtual Factory, with a series of works responding to the unique architecture and ambition of The Factory.

Your Progress Will Be Saved, created by avatar artist LaTurbo Avedon, reimagines The Factory within the global gaming platform Fortnite Creative and has already been visited by more than 1.5 million people.

Take a look at virtual-factory.co.uk. Next up it’s the turn of Turner Prize-winning artist Tai Shani.


Sign up to receive regular updates on The Factory: mif.co.uk/the-factory-news
If you have any questions about work on site please email: FactoryConstruction@laingorourke.com

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