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National Theatre named RIBA Client of the Year 2015

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The South Bank’s National Theatre has been crowned 2015 RIBA Client of the Year

Nominated for the award by both Haworth Tompkins and Stanton Williams, the theatre was praised for its ‘refusal to fall back on a conventional construction industry consumer-supplier relationship when the going occasionally got tough’.

Earlier this year Haworth Tompkins completed the remodelling and refurbishment of Denys Lasdun’s theatre, also creating a new state-of-the-art studio for making scenery.

The theatre saw off competition from Countryside Properties and The Prince’s Regeneration Trust to win the coveted prize.

The award, supported by the Bloxham Charitable Trust, recognises the key role that clients play in creating high-quality architecture.

It was handed out at the Stirling Prize party at the RIBA headquarters tonight (15 October).

Successive NT directors have seen architecture and theatre as mutually interdependent

RIBA president Jane Duncan said: ‘Architecture needs clients who take a long-term approach to their properties, and few have had a longer commitment than the National Theatre.

‘Ever since Laurence Olivier’s initial dream in the 1960s of a national theatre with a permanent home on London’s South Bank, successive directors have seen architecture and theatre as being mutually interdependent.

‘Denys Lasdun, Stanton Williams and Haworth Tompkins have successively given an improved theatrical experience to actors and audiences. The result of both of the latter architects’ work has made Lasdun’s masterpiece more than worthy of its Grade II*-listed status.’

Steve Tompkins, project director at Haworth Tompkins, added: ‘The NT Future team have been a superb client throughout this long and fiendishly complicated project. Being in the business of conceiving and delivering ambitious theatre productions, the NT understood better than most the imperatives of hitting deadlines and budgets, but they also knew that the best results would emerge in an atmosphere of shared risk, creative collaboration and constant re-evaluation.

‘They had the sophistication and confidence to protect the creative space in which the right solutions could be found and the probity of the work maintained. The resulting project is a tribute to the consistent excellence of this extraordinary group of individuals, for whom we have the deepest respect and affection.’

Last year the accolade was picked up by Manchester Metropolitan University after it was nominated for the prize by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

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