The Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins architects wins 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize for the best new building of the year

The new Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins has won the coveted RIBA Stirling Prize 2014 for the best building of the year. Now in its 19th year, the RIBA Stirling Prize is the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize.

The presentation of the RIBA Stirling Prize trophy to Haworth Tompkins took place at a special ceremony this evening (Thursday 16 October) at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.

The old Everyman Theatre in Liverpool opened in 1964 in the shell of a nineteenth century chapel on one of Liverpool’s main streets. Although a much-loved institution, the building itself was in a state of disrepair.  The decision to pull the theatre down and replace it with a new one has been a nine-year project for the architects Haworth Tompkins.  They have expertly met a difficult challenge: that of creating an entirely new and sustainable building, whilst retaining and revitalising the best-loved features of its predecessor. The architects were tasked with ensuring that the soul of the old Everyman, one of informality and community ownership – the ‘theatre of the people’-  was carried into the new building.  The result is a new building with a striking exterior and elegant interior, all with exceptional attention to detail and sustainability credentials.

Speaking tonight, RIBA President Stephen Hodder said:

‘The success of this exceptional new building lies in the architect’s close involvement with the local community throughout the project.  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.  Complementing beautifully with the surrounding listed buildings, 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 building exceeds expectations and I am delighted to present Haworth Tompkins with the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize.’

Speaking tonight, 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.’

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 have delivered us a building that is sustainable, technically first rate and with unparalleled levels of accessibility for a theatre. On a small site with many competing needs and technical necessities they overcame every challenge with zeal and imagination to create something which is a beautiful as it is functional.

But most of all they have transformed a building that lacked so much into a building that embodies what the Everyman’s ethos has always been: world-class theatre in our auditorium, nurturing new writing, great food in convivial spaces, and somewhere for young people to dream of a future where nothing is impossible. 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.’

The judges citation for the RIBA Stirling Prize winner:

‘The new Everyman in Liverpool is truly for every man, woman and child. It cleverly resolves so many of the issues architects face every day. Its context – the handsome street that links the two cathedrals – is brilliantly complemented by the building’s scale, transparency, materials and quirky sense of humour, notably where the solar shading is transformed into a parade of Liverpudlians. The ambience of the theatre is hugely welcoming with three elegant and accessible public foyers for bars, lounges and café/bistro. Clever use of materials with interlocking spaces and brilliant lighting make this an instantly enjoyable new public space for the city. It is exceptionally sustainable; not only did the construction re-use 90% of the material from the old theatre, but all spaces are naturally ventilated including the auditorium with its 440 seats. Clever, out of sight concrete labyrinths supply and expel air whilst maintaining total acoustic isolation. It is one of the first naturally ventilated auditoria in the UK. The generosity of its public spaces, which, on a tight site, are unexpected and delightful, are used throughout the day and night. As Haworth Tompkins’ first completely new theatre, it is a culmination of their many explorations into the theatre of the 21st century. It is ground-breaking as a truly public building, which was at the heart of the client’s philosophy and ethos. In summary, an extraordinary contribution to both theatre and the city, achieved through clever team working – client, architect, consultants and contractor – where the new truly celebrates the past.’

 This is the first time Haworth Tompkins has won the RIBA Stirling Prize. They were previously shortlisted in 2007 for London’s Young Vic theatre. The Everyman is their first new-build theatre, amongst a portfolio of over a dozen theatres from the Royal Court in 2000 to the recent temporary ‘Shed’ outside the National Theatre. Their other projects include a secondary school in Birmingham and Coin Street Community Centre in London. The practice is currently working on a regeneration project in Canning Town and a housing development in Stratford, East London.

The Everyman Theatre was chosen by the judges today from the following outstanding shortlisted entries:

  • Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo
  • London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects
  • London School of Economics – Saw Swee Hock Student Centre by O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects
  • Manchester School of Art by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
  • The Shard by Renzo Piano Building Workshop

The judges for the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize were: Spencer de Grey (Chair) – architect, Foster and Partners; MJ Long – architect, Long and Kentish Architects; Cindy Walters – architect, Walters and Cohen; Stephen Kieran – architect, Kieran Timberlake; and Sir Timothy Sainsbury architectural patron and client.

The winners of three other annual RIBA awards were also announced this evening:

  • Stormy Castle, Gower Peninsula, Wales, by Loyn & Co won the 2014 RIBA Manser Medal for the best new private home
  • House No 7, Isle of Tiree, Scotland, by Denizen Works won the RIBA’s 2014 Stephen Lawrence Prize. Set up in memory of Stephen Lawrence who was setting out on the road to becoming an architect when he was murdered in 1993 and funded by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, the prize rewards the best project with a construction budget of less than £1 million and is intended to encourage fresh talent working with smaller budgets
  • Manchester Metropolitan University won the 2014 RIBA Client of the Year. The award recognizes the role good clients play in the delivery of fine architecture.

The Architects’ Journal is the professional media partner for the RIBA Stirling Prize and RIBA awards.

Notes to editors


  1. Full information about the RIBA Stirling Prize including previous winners is at:
  2. For further press information please contact Beatrice Cooke in the RIBA Press Office on 020 7307 3813 / 07805 173681 or email
  3. Images of the winning building and shortlisted entries can be downloaded from:
  4. The RIBA Stirling Prize is the UK’s most prestigious architecture award. It is given to the architect of the building thought to be the most significant of the year for the evolution of architecture and the built environment. The RIBA Stirling Prize is judged on a range of criteria including design vision, innovation and originality, capacity to stimulate engage and delight occupants and visitors, accessibility and sustainability, how fit the building is for its purpose and the level of client satisfaction.  
  5. This is the 19th year the RIBA Stirling Prize has been presented. Previous winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize include: Astley Castle by Witherford Watson Mann (2013); Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge by Stanton Williams (2012); Evelyn Grace Academy, London (2011) and MAXXI Museum, Rome (2010) both by Zaha Hadid Architects; Maggie’s Centre at Charing Cross Hospital, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (2009); Accordia housing development by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios/Alison Brooks Architects/Maccreanor Lavington (2008); The Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach am Neckar, Germany by David Chipperfield Architects (2007).
  6. Links to images of the RIBA special award winners: 

    2014 RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize:

    2014 RIBA Manser Medal: 

    2014 RIBA Client of the Year award:

  7. The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize is sponsored by Brockton Capital.
  8. The RIBA Manser Medal is sponsored by Hiscox Private Insurance.
  9. The Architects’ Journal is professional media partner for the RIBA Stirling Prize 
  10. BBC News Online is partnering with the RIBA in coverage of the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize.
  11. The RIBA Stirling Prize party is supported by Champagne Taittinger and Heineken. 
  12. The Royal Institute of British Architects champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and its members. @RIBA #StirlingPrize


Posted on Thursday 16th October 2014

Source link


Latest Issue

BDC 305 Jun 2023