The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (formerly the Chinese Arts Centre) was established in 1986 to promote Chinese arts and culture in the UK. This new gallery was funded by Arts Council for England and occupies the basement and ground floor of the Grade II listed Smithfield Market Building in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The project received an RIBA Award for Design Excellence (2004).

A series of contemporary elements have been introduced to guide visitors through the building in a relaxed yet structured way. The introduction of natural materials, sometimes rich in colour, are drawn from Chinese cultural influences and are juxtaposed against the white minimalism of their surroundings.

The black zinc spine wall is a reference to the dark grey brickwork of Northern China; the walnut used within the café recalls the tea stained wood found in traditional Chinese Tea Houses; the main entrance is set behind a sliding screen of Chinese characters and the entrance sequence is influenced by the traditional “hutong” courtyard typologies found in Beijing.

CLIENT – Chinese Arts Centre
STATUS – Completed
VALUE – £900K
LOCATION – Thomas Street, Manchester
Structural Engineer
Healey Brown Partnership
Mechanical Engineer
Hulley and Kirkwood
Quantity Surveyor
John Magnall Associates
Main Contractor
McGoff and Byrne

– 2004 RIBA Award Winner
– 2004 RIBA Inclusive Design Award Shortlisted