Aviva Studios, a New Cultural Hub, Opens in Manchester

It’s becoming a trend. Cultural venues that not only forge community but also epitomize flexibility. The Perelman Performing Arts Center by Rex and Rockwell Group, which bowed late summer at the World Trade Center site in New York, is one, offering some 60 different configurations for theater, dance, and music. Aviva Studios, opened October 18 in Manchester, U.K., is another. The new home to Factory International, which presents year-round programming of events and original art by the likes of Yayoi Kusama, the 145,000-square-foot structure is by Office for Metropolitan Architecture, the firm’s first major public building in Britain. Conceived with adaptability in mind, Aviva is based around large, open spaces that can be constantly reconfigured, enabling artists to develop inventive, large-scale works. “The project allows audiences unexpected vistas of performers and to experience something different with every visit,” OMA partner and lead architect Ellen van Loon says. The spaces are contained inside an angular concrete and corrugated-steel facade that looks like a site-specific sculpture itself.

the exterior of Aviva Studios, a new space for art, music, and culture by Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Rising to nearly 70 feet along the banks of the River Irwell in Manchester, U.K., is Aviva Studios, Factory International’s flexible new space for art, music, and culture by Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

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