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First Stirling Prize winner could become primary school


The first building to win the RIBA Stirling Prize – Hodder Associates’ Centenary Building for the University of Salford – could be converted into a new primary school

The plans for the currently empty 23-year-old building form part of 5plus Architects’ emerging 99ha development framework for the university’s existing campus and surrounding area.

The Hodder block was completed in 1995 and won the first RIBA Stirling Prize the following year. It was originally designed to be the School of Electrical Engineering before its change of use, during construction, to the Faculty of Art and Design Technology.

The building sits within the proposed Adelphi Development Zone, one of five new zones in 5plus’s wider proposals. If built out, the Adelphi zone would create about 320 new homes in the north-eastern corner of the huge University of Salford and Crescent masterplan.

According to a consultation document prepared for project backers Salford City Council and the University of Salford, the four-storey Centenary Building has been earmarked to be converted into a two-form entry primary school. 

Hodder 5plus bottom right

Hodder 5plus bottom right

Hodder’s Centenary Building pictured bottom left

5plus Architects director Tony Skipper told the AJ that the building, which ’had suffered over the years’, would make an ideal school and that demolition had never been seriously considered.

Skipper said: ’The original design was conceived as a street design with seminar spaces and workshops off a central spine - so a school is a reasonable fit.. We’d imagine the lower yeargroups occupying the ground level with juniors on the upper levels.’

He added: ’While most primary school typologies are one or two storey’s, there are examples are successful ‘vertical’ schools like BDP’s Hampden Gurney Primary which completed in 2002 and operated in a city centre location over multiple levels.’

Architect Stephen Hodder, who is a visiting professor at the University of Salford, said he welcomed the proposals and had been ‘kept in the loop’ by 5plus as the masterplan designs progressed.

He said: ’It’s a wonderful and imaginative idea and I believe the building will convert quite easily. I intend to offer our advice once the proposal is more advanced. We retain all the drawings in our archive.’

5plus’s concept plans are subject to future funding decisions, with the university and council hoping to appoint a private delivery partner, or series of partners, in Spring 2019.

Publc consultation on the masterplan close on Monday (3 September).


Eddy Rhead, co-founder of the Manchester Modernist Society

’The Society is obviously optimistic that The Centenary Building can find a useful, new role. Not only were we worried that a quality piece of modern architecture was to be lost but dismayed that such a young building was to be demolished and the questions that raises about sustainability and wastefulness. That it is, potentially, to become a primary school, thus benefiting the wider community, is also to be welcomed.’


Hodder centenary on 5plus masterplan trim

Hodder centenary on 5plus masterplan trim

:1 - Centenary Building, to provide a new two-form entry primary school
2 - 260 flats along Adelphi Street
3 - University of Salford’s Adelphi House to be converted to homes
4 - Improved access to River Irwell
5 - New pedestrian bridge to the Meadows
6 - Meadows

See the Centenary Building in the AJ Buildings Library

Hodder centenary internal

Hodder centenary internal


Readers' comments (2)

  • Great. Long life, loose fit, low energy? As Gordon Graham proposed in the 70s, and we never quite followed up on. Will be interesting to see what it looks like after conversion?

    Writing this while watching a 20 year old trying to bowl out the Indians on a nice day near Southampton. Oh to be young and left handed?! Semi retirement and a SKY subscription does have it’s compensations though?

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  • Perhaps diplomacy constrained Stephen Hodder from commenting on what appears to have been really shambolic forward planning by Salford University of their academic accommodation requirements.

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