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Riba Stirling Prize 2014: Liverpool Everyman Theatre wins

media captionStaff and visitors to the new Liverpool Everyman talk about the building

Liverpool's newly rebuilt Everyman Theatre has won the Riba Stirling Prize for best new building of the year.

The venue beat five other buildings to win the honour - the Royal Institute of British Architects' highest accolade.

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," he said.

media captionThe original theatre was taken down brick by brick and each one reused in the new building

The Everyman Theatre - famed for launching the careers of actors including Bill Nighy, Julie Walters and Pete Postlethwaite - first opened in 1964 in the shell of a 19th Century chapel on one of Liverpool's main streets.

However over the years it fell into a state of disrepair and architects Haworth Tompkins were tasked with designing a new theatre as part of a nine-year £27m rebuilding project, retaining its theme of being a "theatre for the people".

The building's facade features 105 punched aluminium panels portraying life-size images of Liverpool residents. Thousands queued to have their pictures taken, with the successful applicants having digital versions of their pictures etched onto the metal sun shades.

image copyrightPhilip Vile
image captionThe rebuilding process was boosted by £17m of National Lottery funding

"The success of this exceptional new building lies in the architect's close involvement with the local community throughout the project," Mr Hodder said.

"Haworth Tompkins have struck the perfect balance between continuity and change to win the hearts and minds of the people of Liverpool with the vibrant new Everyman."

The theatre said it was "thrilled" to win the award.

"The Everyman was built with humanity at its heart," artistic director Gemma Bodinetz said.

"Since we reopened, the warmth of feeling from the public to their much-loved Everyman - given a daring and brilliant rebirth - has been almost overwhelming.

"Haworth Tompkins have delivered us a building that is sustainable, technically first rate and with unparalleled levels of accessibility for a theatre."

Everyman Theatre - interactive video

image copyrightPhilip Vile
  • Known locally as the "Ev", it was originally housed in a 19th Century chapel
  • Redesign set out to maintain its "grubbiness" and history
  • Taken down brick by brick, so each could be re-used in the new building
  • See the theatre in full in BBC Magazine's interactive video

Steve Tompkins of Haworth Tompkins said: "Winning the Riba Stirling Prize is an enormous honour for our project team and our clients, the reward for an intensive collaboration over almost a decade, during which we have grown to love the Everyman and the great city that it serves.

"It is also an important endorsement of our studio's ethos and an encouragement to carry on working the way we do, despite the pressures all of us are under to speed up and dumb down. We couldn't be more delighted."

The other shortlisted buildings included London's Shard and the Library of Birmingham - which topped the BBC News website readers' poll with 30% of about 90,000 votes.

Manchester School of Art, the London Aquatics Centre and the LSE Student Centre were also nominated.

Last year's winner was Astley Castle in Warwickshire, a modern holiday home inserted into the walls of an ancient castle.

Several other awards were also announced on Thursday with Stormy Castle on Gower Peninsula in Wales winning the 2014 RIBA Manser Medal for the best new private home.

House No 7 on Isle of Tiree in Scotland, won the Stephen Lawrence Prize for the best project with a construction budget of less than £1m.

image copyrightPhilip Vile
image captionRebuilding the theatre has been a nine-year project for architects Haworth Tompkins

Related Topics

  • Architecture

More on this story

  • Liverpool Everyman Theatre profile