Centenary Building,
Salford

Client

University of Salford

Awards

+ RIBA Award 1996
+ RIBA Architecture in Education Category Award 1996
+ Stirling Prize for Architecture 1996

When setting the brief, the client described the function of this building as a ‘fusion of design and technology’ and asked that it reflect this. It houses the Departments of Spatial, Graphic and Industrial Design.

The form is generated from the desire to articulate a clear expression of the brief, the internal programme, and a response to the building’s context astride the threshold between the City and the academic campus. Diagrammatically, the building defines a collegiate courtyard to an existing University building.

Flexible studio and seminar space, and three service towers, are contained within a four storey orthogonal ‘bar’ of accommodation which defines the edge of the City block. Prescribed tutorial accommodation and technology suites are arranged in a free form three storey element address the newly defined courtyard.

The primary organisational device between the two types of accommodation is a linear atrium or ‘street’ within which all horizontal circulation via galleries is contained. In this way street life becomes an aspect of the life of the building; common areas and adjoining offices and studios engage with the street the animate the building and imbue it with a sense of purpose.

“Despite being built quickly and cheaply – the team had to be on site in just twelve weeks after appointment – the building is a dynamic, modern and sophisticated exercise in steel, glass and concrete. They have bowed out the main facade to create a wide studio and lecture theatre space with indirect daylighting; breaking the ‘internal street’ with galleries and bridges, and exposing rooms to this central space to give an air of purpose and animation.”

Stirling Prize Jury