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AJ Architecture Awards 2018: Cultural Project of the Year

AHMM’s third phase of works at Liverpool’s Royal Court has scooped Cultural Project of the Year at the 2018 AJ Architecture Awards

Dating back to the 19th century, Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre is a historic fixture of the city’s communal cultural life. The current Art Deco building, with its allusions to Liverpool’s nautical history, was opened in 1938, following reconstruction after a fire which destroyed the original Victorian theatre. 

The building’s remodelling by AHMM was carried out over 10 years and took the form of three phases. The final and most recent phase refurbished the basement as an open performance studio capable of hosting a range of events from comedy to jazz. Back of house areas were also brought up to date. Exploring the building’s potential, Phase 3 skilfully mixes old and new elements, allowing different eras to speak for themselves in an engagingly robust and ‘scavenged’ language of materials and detailing. If follows on from an earlier refurbishment of the main auditorium, which introduced cabaret-style stalls seating, and an intermediate phase in which front of house facilities were rationalised through a curved glass and steel extension. 

The judges admired how the latest phase finally completed the decade-long project, breathing new life into a cherished institution. It keeps faith with the spirit of the Royal Court and shows understanding of how the theatre is used and its place in the community. As an enticing and socially accessible venue, it attracts those who might not necessarily consider themselves ‘theatregoers’, cementing a vital connection with the locality.

 

Highly Commended

Paisley: The Secret Collection by Collective Architecture

Secret Collection 2

Secret Collection 2

Executed on an extremely modest budget, this inventive remodelling project creates a state-of-the-art storage facility for the diverse collections of Renfrewshire Council Arts & Museums service. Located in the basement of a former Littlewoods department store, it aims to revitalise the high street, while bringing the collections to life. 

Shortlist

  • New Tate St Ives by Jamie Fobert Architects with Evans & Shalev
  • Royal Academy of Arts Masterplan by David Chipperfield Architects
  • Royal Birmingham Conservatoire by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
  • Square Chapel Arts Centre by Evans Vettori Architects
  • The Bridge Theatre by Haworth Tompkins