The new Everyman Theatre by Haworth Tompkins was crowned the winner of the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize at the Royal Institute of British Architects last night. The much-loved Liverpool institution, originally housed in a chapel where it was based since 1964, moved into its brand new home designed by the London-based practice earlier this year.
Competition was fierce, with nominations also including the Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo; the London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects; the London Bridge Tower (The Shard) by Renzo Piano Building Workshop; the London School of Economics - Saw Swee Hock Student Centre by O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects; and the Manchester School of Art by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
And while these buildings may range in scale and program, there is no doubt that this year's strong shortlist included some leading names in the architecture scene. The judging panel - comprising Foster and Partner's Spencer de Grey, Long and Kentish's MJ Long, Walters and Cohen's Cindy Walters, Kieran Timberlake's Stephen Kieran and politician and businessman Sir Timothy Sainsbury - reached the final decision, praising the new theatre's design. "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", they state.
The award, now in its 19th year, honoured the building for its design, execution and imagination. It is the first Stirling Prize for the winners, who have a strong portfolio of work in theatre design - from the Royal Court completed in 2000 to the recent temporary 'Shed' outside the National Theatre.