Established in 1838, Manchester School of Art is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the UK. The School was established in the 19th Century to help keep the region competitive in an international market and support regional industry in a wider marketplace. Now a faculty of Manchester Metropolitan University this remains an important objective for the Art School and a key part of the brief was to help the School bridge the gap between education and professional life. The design of the Manchester School of Art has provided an engaging and lively environment in which to work and study and helped re-assert both the Art School and the University’s profile on the national stage. The Dean of the School, Professor David Crow, describes the scheme as “a hugely exciting arena where anything is possible and everything is relevant”. The working heart of the building, the Design Shed, comprises open studios, workshops and teaching spaces. A second element is a seven storey ‘Vertical Gallery’. This is the linking piece between the existing 1960s arts tower (known as the Chatham Building) and the new studio building. This vertical gallery provides a showcase space for the output of the School and acts as a shop window to the School itself. The new building celebrates the inter relation of the various art & design disciplines and encourages 21st century students to work alongside each other and enjoy the crossover rather than concentrating always on the differences. With a huge front window, it is also a building that is proud of its product and showcases the work to everyone who passes by.