Manchester School of Art is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the UK: one of its most famous students being L S Lowry. The school was established in the 19th Century to help keep the region competitive in an international market and support regional industry in a wider marketplace. This remains an important objective for the Art School, and a key part of the brief was to help it bridge the gap between education and professional life.
Our approach was to express a modern interpretation of the traditional warehouse typology which made Manchester such a success through its textile trade in the 19th century.
The new build element of the project comprises two key elements. The first is the working heart of the building comprising open studios, workshops and teaching spaces known as the Design Shed. The second is the seven-storey Vertical Gallery - the link between the existing 1960s arts tower and the new studio building. This gallery provides a showcase space for students’ creations and a shop window for the faculty itself.
The aim of the new building is to celebrate the commonalities of the various art and design disciplines and encourage students to work alongside each other and enjoy the crossover in an open, terraced hybrid environment, rather than working in the silos common to many art and design establishments.
With its vast glazed façade, it is also a building that proudly showcases its students’ work to all who pass by: a ‘Window on the Arts’.
2014: Stirling Prize Shortlisted
2014: Schueco Excellence Award: Education: Winner
2014: RIBA National Award: Winner
2014: RIBA Award: North West Regional: Winner
2013: Concrete Society Award: Best Education Building: Winner