Dutch practice Mecanoo has recently completed HOME, the new Manchester’s centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film, a catalyst for the developments around First Street, giving Manchester a new cultural epicentre.
As the base for the new organisation formed by the merger of Cornerhouse and The Library Theatre Company, HOME has been designed to allow for the commissioning, production and presentation complex artistic projects, as well as the hosting of large scale cultural events.
Its striking exterior acts like a beacon, while the welcoming public spaces and social areas within are designed to be inviting to all; it is a cultural home. Connecting the First Street zone with the city centre, the building’s characteristic, triangular shape creates a strong visual identity.
The iridescent glazed facade adorned with irregularly spaced fins opens up where public areas are located, giving the building a dynamic appearance. A terrace is located beneath the large overhang, connecting the café bar to the public square that can be used for outdoor cultural events.The wide central stairwell at the heart of HOME acts as an informal social space, connecting the different uses of the venue: theatre, cinema and gallery.
It encourages visitors to use the stairs instead of the lifts as the main circulation route through the building. The bars on each floor and the restaurant are cleverly integrated into the characteristic stairwell. The interior concept and layout is that of an urban living room, instilling a sense of warmth and intimacy. The rugged concrete floors and walls contrast beautifully with the warm oak of the bars.
The main theatre on the first floor contains 500 colourful seats across three levels. The second and third floors house the smaller flexible studio theatre space and five top-of-the-range cinemas in a range of sizes. The four metre-high flexible gallery space is located on the ground floor.
all images courtesy of Mecanoo