Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), 124 Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9RD – Visit Now
Oxford Road’s Royal Northern College of Music has in recent years received a major overhaul, with its 40-year-old concert hall undergoing a £7.1m redevelopment that includes a new balcony, lighting and raised floor. Designed by architect Ian Palmer and brought about by Styles & Wood, the project has seen 515 tons of rubble leave the building and 55 tons of steel arrive, all through one entrance.
Constructed in 1972, RNCM was an amalgamation of Sir Charles Hallé’s 19th Century Royal Manchester College of Music and the Northern School of music, a mere stripling in comparison (it was set up in 1920). Now, it is home to a modern concert hall with top-tech facilities – but the redesign goes beyond mere technology. “We wanted the audience to be fully immersed in the performance, as if suspended in an Escher painting,” says architect Ian Palmer. “What we have created is a spatial Rubik’s cube that will allow the college to expand its repertoire, confident of a venue that is beautiful, technically outstanding and, most significantly, maintains its unique acoustic qualities.”
The college also boasts a 607-capacity black box theatre, one of the largest in the city, and a 150-seater Forman Lecture Theatre.