In 1968, a group of architects joined the Manchester School of Art, and 50 years later – to the day – Manchester Metropolitan welcomed them back to the University for a special reunion.
The group started the day looking over the city from the top floor studio of the Chatham Building – what in 1968 was known as ‘Chatham Tower’ – the building that they were based in as students.
The 18 architects saw what life was like for current architecture students and soon realised how much had changed, not only for the development into what is now the Manchester School of Architecture but themselves as architects, the profession and Manchester as a city.
Greg Pike, a retired architect from Allison Pike Architects and Designers in Stockport, attended the reunion.
He said: “What struck me most was the recollection that back in 1968 the Art School seemed to be viewed as an isolated little collective of slightly weird folk, set in a no man’s land. Today, the Manchester Metropolitan School of Architecture is internationally acclaimed, sitting at the heart of a stunning new campus, in a beautifully adapted building and attracting the brightest students from across the world.
“I found it all very inspiring and I think there’s a massive amount of credit due to both the students and staff at the University who have created this place.”
Discussion and debate
Before finishing in the Salutation pub – the “hub of social life” back in the late 60s and early 70s – the group took a tour around the current Special Collections exhibition, Drawing the Modern, curated by Dr Richard Brook, Principal Lecturer from Manchester School of Architecture.
The exhibition draws on the archive of Gordon Hodkinson, who was a student of Architecture at Manchester Municipal School of Art in the 1940s and1950s.
David Dickinson, from DDA Architects in Shropshire, said: “The show, as a tangible reflection of the past and our earlier ‘modern Manchester vista’ from the top of Chatham Tower, in a way served quite coincidentally but nevertheless very timely as chronologic brackets to the long and various stories of our own professional careers. An encapsulation of the 50-year period of influences, post-war to post-modern, that have moulded all our own lives and the built environment around us.
“The day was filled with a great deal of discussion and debate about the changes in architectural and art education today, Manchester, the Manchester Metropolitan campus, the Art School, students and their ways of life. It became clear that this occasion was indeed very special to many of us. How little we had changed, apart only from the way we look.
“Our reunion proved to be a resounding success. This was due in no small measure to the efforts of five of our number and very much enhanced through the generous welcome and attentions of the Manchester Metropolitan staff members and their excellent organisation.”
If you’re a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan and thinking of holding a reunion of your own, let us know.
The alumni and their architectural practice:
Tony Deakin – Tony Deakin Architects
David Dickinson – DDA Architects
Mick Doherty – Hegarty Masterson Doherty
Max Elliott – Manning Elliot Partnership
John Flinn – Davenport & Flinn
Peter Gardner – Michael Hyde & Partners
Andy Grundy – Andy Grundy Architect
Michael Hyde – Michael Hyde & Partners
Adrian Manning – Manning Elliot Partnership
Chris Maybin – Maybin Architectural Design Ltd
Ray McCairn – Gloucester County Council
Stewart McGough – Aedas, Shrewsbury
Greg Pike – Allison Pike Architects & Designers
Chris Potter – P+HS Architects
Anton Rogers – CaDarchitecture
Paul Russell – Russel + May Associates
Peter Selencky – Cressbrook Properties
Paul Wild – Pick Everard