Centenary Building

Winner of the inaugural Stirling Prize in 1996, this commission was handed to Hodder who had completed earlier refurbishment work for the, then, University College, Salford (UCS). UCS had been pushing for EU money to extend their facilities and it came suddenly with the stipulation that work must start within three months. The need for speed dictated the use of a simple concrete cross-wall structure that ultimately defined the qualities of the internal spaces. Fittingly, this machined and sculpted building was designed to house the Faculty of Art and Design Technology, though the brief shifted during construction due to institutional mergers and departmental reshuffles. The linear form has two primary faces, a glazed and open façade to the courtyard (car park) and a closed façade of stainless steel cladding and glass blocks to the rear, which acts defensively against the city. Internally a shared atrium space was intended to permit exchange and interaction, though this has not been the case, the students tend to come here specifically to use the facilities and socialise elsewhere. The materials and forms make this an undoubtedly urban building and the commercially tinged language perhaps perceptively acknowledge the shifting market of higher education in the UK.