The great and the good of Manchester’s architectural scene were gathered at the Hilton Hotel on Friday night (November 6th) for the annual Manchester Society of Architect’s Dinner. Held at the Ian Simpson-designed Hilton, on Deansgate, for the third year in a row, the evening saw 300 architects put behind them the gloom of the recession to enjoy an evening of fine food and live music, not to mention the chance to catch up with old acquaintances.
The host for the evening, current President of the MSA, Simon Green gave a speech in which he highlighted the numerous successes of Manchester’s practices including the recipients of the MSA Design Awards in April 2009 (with the winning entries shown on a big screen during the meal) and touched upon other reasons for architects in Manchester to celebrate, including the inaugural Manchester Architecture and Design Festival. Arguably the main event of the evening was a speech from RIBA President Ruth Reed, the official ‘response on behalf of the guests’. The first woman President in the 175-year history of the RIBA, Ruth Reed gave a speech that was on the whole light-hearted, commending the resilience of northern architects and how Manchester was an example of how to ‘regenerate’ a city although she did briefly touch upon on the ‘banned topic of the night’, the recession.
After dinner and the speeches had concluded the evenings live entertainment, ‘The Coolers’, got underway with even Simon Green and his illustrious guests (including Ruth Reed and Colin Pugh, Acting Head of the Manchester School of Architecture) taking to the dance floor.
On the whole the evening appeared to be enjoyed by all, a perfect balance of a formal occasion, to match the long and proud history of the MSA, mixed with the informality desired by hard-working professionals wanting to celebrate and not stand on ceremony.
The MSA Dinner 2009 was kindly sponsored by Ceram Excel.