Manchester Metropolitan University
The Manchester Metropolitan University School of Digital Arts (SODA) aims to create a new kind of art school provision, a new interdisciplinary 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.
SODA will be 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.
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.
The building itself is future proofed: it will be able to respond 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 will house subjects that span film, animation, UX design, photography, games design, AI and more.