It has been announced that Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre has been awarded the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize. Designed by London-based practice Haworth Tompkins, the scheme includes a 400-seat auditorium, rehearsal and development space, public foyers and dining outlets, while the project’s exterior is defined by a façade that comprises dynamic metal sunshades.
The five other shortlisted schemes from across the UK are listed below:
Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo
London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects
London Bridge Tower (The Shard) by Renzo Piano Building Workshop
London School of Economics - Saw Swee Hock Student Centre by O’donnell + Tuomey Architects
Manchester School of Art by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
The various projects were judged in terms of their design excellence and their contribution to the evolution of the built environment, with a common theme placing an emphasis on transformative public structures, offering a sense of optimism in the wake of recent financial turbulence. The judges, who each visited the six shortlisted buildings, comprised Spencer De Grey – Chair (Foster + Partners), MJ Long (Long and Kentish Architects), Cindy Walters (Walters and Cohen), Stephen Kieran (Kieran Timberlake) and Sir Timothy Sainsbury.
The building incorporates numerous creative workspaces, with a rehearsal room, workshops, a sound studio, a Writers' Room overlooking the foyer, and EV1 - a special studio dedicated to the Young Everyman Playhouse education and community groups. Externally, local red brick was selected for the walls and four large ventilation stacks, giving the building a distinct silhouette and meshing it into the surrounding architecture. The design combines thermally massive construction with a series of natural ventilation systems and low energy technical infrastructures to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating for this complex and densely inhabited urban building.
The main west facing facade of the building is as a large-scale public work of art consisting of 105 moveable metal sunshades, each one carrying a life-sized, water-cut portrait of a contemporary Liverpool resident. Typographer and artist Jake Tilson created a special font for a new version of the iconic red 'Everyman' sign, whilst regular collaborating visual artist Antoni Malinowski made a large painted ceiling piece for the foyer, to complement an internal palette of brickwork, black steel, oak, reclaimed Iroko, deeply coloured plywood and pale in situ concrete.