News: 14 December 2018Plans for new £35m School of Digital Arts approved

Our Manchester planning team are pleased to have promptly gained planning permission from Manchester City Council for Manchester Metropolitan University’s exciting plans for a £35m School of Digital Arts (SODA) on Higher Chatham Street in Manchester.

SODA, which is being supported by grant funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and an Industry Advisory Board chaired by Danny Boyle, will house subjects that span film, animation, UX design, photography, games design, AI and more. This will ensure Greater Manchester has the skills base urgently needed to support growth in the sector.

The highly accessible 5,600sqm five-storey building is to be future proofed: responding to changes in technology, and will contain a digital innovation lab, open workspaces, green screens, edit suites, screening space, a media gallery, sound and music studios and production studios.

It has been designed to further develop opportunities for interdisciplinary talent to support Greater Manchester's creative and digital industries, creating a digital skills powerhouse. The new school will work closely with key regional cultural and industry partners such as Home, Red Productions, ITV and the BBC.

The building has been designed to be bold, brave and distinctive in line with the City’s own aspirations. New high-quality public realm comprising of a pedestrianised street between the Benzie Building and the new SODA facility will create a new attractive outdoor environment close to the Students’ Union for students and staff to enjoy. The pedestrianisation of Higher Chatham Street will integrate with Manchester Met’s wider campus public realm masterplan to improve pedestrian and cycle connectivity across the All Saints Campus.

Nicole Roe, Planning Associate at Barton Willmore, the planning consultants for the scheme, said: “The new School of Digital Art will transform the learning experience of students in one of the largest creative communities in the UK. It will not only make a significant contribution to the wider Manchester economy within the knowledge innovation district known as the Corridor Manchester, but also create quality buildings and public buildings in line with the City’s own aspirations.”

Manchester Metropolitan University is being supported in the development of the SODA project by Turner & Townsend with Fielden Clegg Bradley as architect, Buro Happold engineers and we acted as planning and engagement consultants.

Image - Fielden Clegg Bradley

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