Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre, which re-opened in March 2014, has won the prestigious national Stirling Prize for the best building of the year, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Designed by Haworth Tompkins architects, the Everyman beat off competition from the LSE’s student centre in Aldwych, the Shard, the Olympic aquatics centre, Manchester School of Art and the Library of Birmingham.
RIBA president Stephen Hodder called the Everyman an ‘exceptional new building. It is a ground-breaking example of how to build a daring bold and highly sustainable large public building in a historic city centre.’
The new Everyman replaced the original venue which opened 50 years ago in a disused church, reusing the original bricks and retaining its familiar red neon sign while cladding the front of the building with revolving aluminium panels featuring images of people from the city. A nine year project, the architects were tasked with redesigning the building while maintaining its ethos of being a ‘theatre for the people’ and ensuring that, in the words of artistic director Gemma Bodinetz, it ‘shouldn’t feel too posh’.
Everyman & Playhouse Artistic Director Gemma Bodinetz and Executive Director Deborah Aydon said: ‘We’re thrilled to have won this most prestigious of awards. The Everyman was built with humanity at its heart, an intent embodied by the 105 people of Liverpool on its façade. Since we reopened the warmth of feeling from the public to their much-loved Everyman – given a daring and brilliant rebirth from Haworth Tompkins – has been almost overwhelming. Haworth Tompkins has delivered us a building that is sustainable, technically first rate and with unparalleled levels of accessibility for a theatre… Ten years ago when we embarked on this journey with Haworth Tompkins we could never have imagined it would end in winning the RIBA Stirling Prize: they have designed a building that supplies joy beyond expectation to every visitor and those of us lucky enough to work there.’
Alison Clark-Jenkins, Director North, Arts Council England commented, ‘I am delighted that Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre has won the Stirling Prize. The redevelopment has retained the distinctiveness of a much-loved building and it’s a true expression of the organisation’s relationship to the city and its diverse communities.’
Arts Council investment
The project was funded by £16.8 million from the Arts Council’s National Lottery funded Capital programme, £5.9 million from the European Regional Development Fund and £2.5 million from the Northwest Regional Development Agency as well as over £1.9 million of private funding.
One of the Arts Council’s goals is to ensure that the arts, museums and libraries we support are resilient and environmentally sustainable. You can read more about examples in the North of how new partnerships and creative strategies are ensuring our cultural institutions future-proof themselves here.