The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC )has been named the 2011 RIBA Client of the Year supported by the Bloxham Charitable Trust
The victory will partially make up for the company narrowly missing out on this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize with its new Royal Shakespeare Theatre designed by Bennetts Associates. The building in Stratford-upon-Avon was a losing finalist for the UK’s most prestigious architectural award.
According to the RIBA, the RSC has ‘commissioned a formidable portfolio of projects’ over recent years including Ian Ritchie’s temporary Courtyard Theatre and the Swan Theatre and Chapel Lane studio building also with Bennetts Associates.
In July 2011, the company constructed a temporary replica of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s new auditorium in New York City.
The judges described the RSC as an ‘exceptional’ client, adding: ’The most remarkable thing about the RSC as a client is the way in which they have consistently looked at the big picture. Their buildings represent a formidable portfolio of high quality patronage, and have been carried out in a collaborative way with the RSC’s theatrical designers fully integrated with the architect-led teams.’
The other clients shortlisted for the award were:
- Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust
- Land Securities
- The London Borough of Hackney
- The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
The client of the year announcement was made at the RIBA Stirling Prize 2011 Dinner in association with The Architects’ Journal and Benchmark on Saturday 1 October 2011 at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham.
The award honours the key role that a good client plays in the creation of fine architecture. They consider clients of the year’s RIBA Award-winning schemes but take into account a track record of previous successful commissioning, particularly where this has led to earlier RIBA Awards.
Tom Bloxham MBE, architect and founder of Urban Splash, announced the winner, and the award was presented by RIBA Chief Executive Harry Rich. The award was judged by architect and Chair of Awards Deborah Saunt; architect Bob Allies, and Tony Chapman, Head of RIBA Awards.
Speaking about the Royal Shakespeare Company, Chair of judges Deborah Saunt said: ‘The RIBA Client of the Year usually goes to a client for a body of work encompassing a number of different projects on a variety of sites. But once in a while - and the MCC springs to mind - the RIBA rewards the successful culmination of a series of commissions to bring an institution up to date and to work for a wider constituency than ever before. The RSC is another fine example in this tradition. Through a long, complex and exhaustive process, working with a number of architects, including Bennetts Associates most recently, and Ian Richie a few years ago, they have brought into the theatre people who would never have dreamt of going before and given them both theatrical and architectural experiences to treasure for the rest of their lives.”