Foundation for Art and Creative Technology
Exterior of FACT
Support for the creative industries
For audiences, FACT provides a point of entry into the arts of film, video and new media. For artists, it is a support system without parallel in the UK. For Liverpool, it forms a key aspect of its cultural and economic renaissance.
Designed by architectural firm Austin-Smith:Lord, the building is situated on Wood Street in the Ropewalks area of the city centre. It offers three gallery spaces, four cinema screens and a multimedia suite and also comprises a cafe, a bar and a lounge area.
FACT was Liverpool’s first purpose-built arts centre for more than 60 years. It was opened in February 2003 by its founding executive director Eddie Berg, having cost £10 million to build. The building is linked to Bold Street, one of Liverpool’s main shopping areas, by a public square off Wood Street and Colquitt Street.
The brief to the architects was to create a bold landmark building on a site previously occupied by a 1960s garage. In response Austin-Smith:Lord has created a building very different in character to the surrounding red-brick warehouses. The zinc tile-clad façade defines the building; interspersed with seven programmable LED-illuminated columns, running the building’s full six-storey height, it is a huge wide screen bent around two elevations.
Beyond the façade are galleries dedicated to new media artwork, space for online and streaming media broadcasts, the Medialab for the development and production of artists’ projects, and 'The Box' a 50 cinema and event space (featuring sofas rather than traditional cinema seating), a café and a bar. In addition is Picturehouse at FACT, run by leading independent operator City Screen, with three state-of-the-art cinemas showing the latest arthouse releases alongside more mainstream films.
Once inside, the foyer is a dramatic 4-storey void providing a dramatic route through the building linking the new public spaces. Exposed concrete is used on the ceilings and outer walls of the exhibition spaces, with black concrete floors in the foyer, lounge and bar areas - the natural colours providing a suitable backdrop for the artwork.
The sweep of the box office desk and the walls of the exhibition spaces are designed to draw visitors to the heart of the building and up the concrete cantilevered stairs to the upper floors, where the bar and Picturehouse cinema screens are housed. The cafe area is situated adjacent to the rear entrance, where full-height glazing opens onto Arthouse square.
Within FACT, Picturehouse Liverpool’s three high quality screens seat 264, 152 and 104 people, all screens are to THX standard. Supported by one metre deep concrete beams, the huge sculptural under-bellies of these screens are visible from both the ground and upper floors. Access to the screens is at second floor level from the lounge and bar area, accessible by another staircase and framed by the building’s large square window. A further exhibition space is also available next to the bar.
Technical details Screen 1 Picturehouse @ FACT
- One of 9 THX certified cinemas. (City Screen own 4 and program another 3 out of the 9)
- Two Kinoton DP75 35mm/70mm projectors
- Kinoton ST270 Platter system
- Dolby CP200 Sound processor, MPU 1 Mag Pre-amp.
- Dolby SRD, DTS 70 fitted when required.
- Christie SLH lamphouses with 3KW xenons.
- Screen Size = 15meters wide, 6.3meter high
- Projection throw = 30meters
In 2008, during its programme for Liverpool's European Capital of Culture year, FACT launched FACT TV - an online platform for audiences to experience digital arts and culture.
Designed in-house by FACT’s Media Services team and funded by Arts Council England, FACT TV offers a chance to see the vast programme of work by the UK’s centre for film video and new media art, plus work by FACT and Arena Housing’s ground-breaking web-casting project tenantspin and FACT’s work with young filmmakers.
This platform is now called Artplayer.tv and features content from arts organisations around the UK.
- Briggs, Darren. "70mm at City Screen’s Picturehouse @ FACT Liverpool". Technical Manager City Screen Cinemas LTD. in70mm.com. Retrieved 3 August 2012.