Manchester Metropolitan University – The School of Digital Arts

  • area / size 60,278 sqft
  • Completed 2021
  • Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios was tasked with designing The School of Digital Arts for Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England.

    The Manchester Metropolitan University School of Digital Arts (SODA) is a new kind of art school provision. It creates a cross-discipline learning environment that reflects the ubiquity of the screen in all our lives and will develop interdisciplinary talent to support Greater Manchester’s creative and digital industries.

    The building contains a digital innovation lab, open workspaces, green screens, edit suites, a screening space, a media gallery, sound and music studios and production studios. It houses subjects that span film, animation, UX design, photography, games design, AI and more.

    SODA is a future-facing resource that recognises that screen and post-screen interactions in the future will be central to human communication. This ambition recognises that technological advances and convergences between different creative digital sectors will completely transform the kinds of expertise that are needed to serve this greatly expanded range of screen and post-screen-based interactions.

    The entrance to the school announces these intentions boldly, with a four-storey video light wall on the northern façade marking the campus approach and creating a platform where the work of the students can be displayed. A pleated metal façade reflects the local context and activity above a new pedestrian street between SODA and the adjacent Benzie Building, part of the Manchester School of Art. Keeping that exciting culture going in the new building has been a key driver to its look and feel.

    Internally a double-height ‘digital hall’ provides informal break-out space alongside a café, foyer, screening room and exhibition space which support the specialised studio spaces. Village Greens, at level two and four contrast the black box studio spaces by benefiting from generous floor to ceiling height with large windows flooding the space with natural daylight. Conceived as ‘melting pots’ for the building, these spaces are designed to encourage students from multiple disciplines to interact and share knowledge.

    SODA will give young people, from all backgrounds, the opportunity to learn to be the filmmakers and media producers of the future and will develop interdisciplinary talent to support Greater Manchester’s creative and digital industries.

    Design: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
    Contractor: Kier
    Photography: Hufton+Crow