Arts Council North
This project was inspired by Will Alsop’s ‘Supercity’. A theoretical city which would stretch from Liverpool to Hull and rival London as the heart of the UK. The intention was to examine how decentralisation could be achieved in the UK by selecting a particular body or institution that could be relocated from London into the Supercity.
Cultural funding is one of many examples where Londoners benefit unfairly compared to the rest of the population. As such, the Arts Council was chosen to be re-homed in the Supercity.
The chosen site for this project was a former railway station in Manchester. Mayfield station has been empty since the 80s and this scheme intends to refurbish the old masonry building and insert the new Arts Council functions within its shell.
Alongside spaces for Arts Council's administrative requirements the building would also house a theatre and gallery so as to physically promote projects which the Arts Council supports. This promotion will be furthered by the addition of an outdoor space, or platform, for sculptures and performances which is visible from Manchester Piccadilly station.
Allowing the public access inside the Arts Council makes the institution more accessible and receive a greater public interest. The scheme provides a theatre which is the primary method of achieving this and this importance is reflected in its construction.
The outside of the building needs to successfully convey how the Arts Council has changed along with its move to the North. The actual administrative offices for the Arts Council are housed in a relatively formal architecture. But the ‘cultural platform’ sitting beneath suggests the more playful nature of the building and provides a medium for advertisement and celebrations of the arts.