Upon leaving Manchester University in 1982 Steve Hodder went to work
for BDP for a year where he found that their multidisciplinary approach
was flawed in practice. He was offered a job at Hopkins, but turned
it down for a project offered to him by a family member. This project
enabled him to set up his practice with a colleague from college with
two drawing boards in his home. The practice has gone through many
cycles of evolution over the past twenty years.
Initial progress was good. The young practice won a competition to
build Lytham St Annes Station, and Hodder also took the opportunity
to join the teaching staff at Manchester School of Architecture to
supplement his income. An important part of the practice over the
years has been Mr Hodders ex-wife who took charge initially of administration
duties and later controlled public relations and financial aspects
of the growing practice. Between 1983 and 1992 the two practice partners
employed between 2 and 4 architects until his partner was left and
Hodder became a sole practitioner from 1992 onwards.
Shortly afterwards Hodder won an open competition to extend Nick Grimshaws Colne Sports Hall which
went on to win the Sunday Times Building of the Year Award. Mr Hodder acknowledged the help of his
old colleague from BDP, Huge Pearman who now worked for the Times in bringing valuable publicity to
the practice at this time.
The practice structure now evolved once again aw Hodder took on two
associates to help run the practice as workload grew. The next large
project was to be at St Catherine's College in Cambridge where an
accommodation block was built to compliment Arne Jaconsons campus
buildings. The college has now been a client of the practice for over
10 years. In 1994 Chorton Doctors Surgery was completed and won an
RIBA award and this lead to the commission for another surgery in
Towards the end of 1994 Hodder was commissioned to built a new faculty
building by Salford University. The practice was given only 11 weeks
to complete the design stage and get on site in order to ensure the
EU grant was eligible. The building was completed at the end of 1995
and went on to win the RIBA's newly rebranded Stirling Prize the following
year. Along with a £20,000 prize the win also lead to a great deal
of publicity and sharp increase in workload.
In order to cope with this Hodder decided to open an office in London
to compliment activities in Manchester. Two more associated were appointed
to help run the new practice and the now employed at total of 12 architects
between the two offices. However, the dual office set up was to lead
to problems. With his time split between Manchester and London, Hodder
was unable to maintain the level of control he desired and because
the practice lacked the required management structure, quality and
staff satisfaction suffered.
However, several prestigious projects were still won. CUBE Gallery
in Manchester, the Arndale Bridge and a lottery funded sports centre
in London kept the practice busy. However, the decision was taken
to consolidate the practice and Manchester and the London office was
closed. Subsequently the commission to build the National wildflower
Centre was won and then practice was now larger then ever.
The practice structure now consists of 4 associates each responsible
for a separate area of concern (management/quality, IT, education,
design) overseeing 8 architectural staff. Two full time administration
staff work alongside and a financial controller was appointed to overlook
that aspect of the firm, fully freeing Hodder to concentrate on his
strengths of design and client liaison.
Phil Parry, Hodders Financial Controller has now been with the practice
for 4 months and he explained to use what his roles are. His main
responsibility is to ensure the profit margin and this is done via
a Financial Framework as follows:
This framework is applied through the RIBA Stages with the aim of always maintaining the profit margin.
- Define financial plan for each job
- establish expected income and profit
- detail pricing assumptions (wages, overheads etc)
- identify personnel resources
- external resource requirements (printing, travel etc)
- monitoring and control
Colne Pool, with itís saw edged roof echoing the old mill roofs around it, won the Sunday Times Building of the Year award.
of Salford Centenary Building which won the inaugural Stirling Prize
bridge from Manchester's Arndale to Marks and Spencer's
The National Wildflower Centre