Manchester Council have rehoused two of the city’s finest cultural institutions in a brand new venue called – rather bizarrely – HOME.
The Cornerhouse was a multi-screen cinema, exhibition space, restaurant and bookshop on bustling Oxford Road. It offered a wide range of films, and excellent food served in a convivial atmosphere. The Library Theatre was indeed located in the basement of the Central Library but its productions regularly knocked spots off the more mainstream Royal Exchange theatre. They were stimulating and fun places.
Both are now gone. Instead there is HOME. I have tried to like their replacement but after several months’ reserving judgement I simply can’t warm to the place. It has a horrible approach from the city centre, through a railway arch and down a wind tunnel to the main entrance which is a big austere empty space. To the left is a bar with some awkward winged back chairs among more conventional spartan seating.
Up the stairs is a large spacious restaurant with dramatic views (of Pizza Express and not much else) but it is just too capacious to be anything other than soulless. Other parts of the building are laid out in a concrete confusion of wasted space and poor workmanship – including at least one cinema which projects silhouettes of latecomers onto the screen due to some angular miscalculation by the (award winning) architects.
According to the website,
HOME is for curiosity seekers, for lovers of the dramatic, the digital and the deeply engaging; for radicals and reciprocators.
This single sentence, way beyond parody, sums it all up.