The five-storey, 5,200m² SODA building is being constructed on Higher Chatham Street, next to the Manchester School of Art’s Benzie Building.
SODA will provide laboratories and workshops for learning about making films and video games.
The building has been designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley (FCB) Studios with a hi-res LED light wall covering the front of the building to display students’ work to passers-by.
Kier is expected to complete construction in spring 2021, in time for the building to open to students in September 2021.
Various local dignitaries turned out for the ground breaking ceremony, including the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, university vice-chancellor Malcolm Press, and an assortment of council types.
FCB Studios partner Simon Doody said: “SODA is a future-facing school for Manchester Metropolitan University, which aims to provide facilities, support and a canvas for digital storytelling that is relevant to industry and groundbreaking in its outlook.
“From the outside a subtly textured façade is created from pleated metal panels which reflect the local context. It also echoes the nearby workshop building that this faculty had its conception in – keeping that exciting culture going in the new building has been a key driver to its look and feel. Internally, the building is designed to be highly flexible, providing spaces that will encourage collaboration, exhibition and community, and allow faculties to evolve as technology advances.”