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Stirling Prize 2014: the profession reacts

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The industry reacts to the news that Haworth Tompkins’ ‘daring and bold’ Everyman Theatre in Liverpool has won the this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize

Jane Duncan, RIBA president elect
‘I am really thrilled, if quite amazed, that in the face of such stiff competition the People’s Theatre won the Stirling Prize tonight. It is really a project which seems to have captured the hearts of architects and the community in equal measure both for its exemplary sustainability, but perhaps even more for its ability to connect with Liverpudlians. This is a win for Liverpool too I sense.’

Alan Dunlop, founder, Alan Dunlop Architects
‘I’m disappointed that the bookies’ favourite the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre did not win. I hoped it would for it is a brave and skilfully crafted project, carried through with imagination and rigour on an extremely difficult and confined site. As Rory Olcayto commented in his recent AJ editorial, all Stirling’s great buildings flirted with failure. Despite the constrains, O’Donnell and Tuomey have managed to create a unique building with a legible plan and section which flows and is accessible. That the Everyman Theatre should win instead is not a surprise and congratulations are due to Haworth Tompkins. It is also a remarkable project and great for Liverpool but is in my view a safer option than the Saw Swee Hock and far less likely to raise as many objectors as supporters.’

Robin Nicholson, senior partner, Cullinan Studio
‘Phew! I thought LSE would get it but feared that the Aquatics Centre might sweep them away. What a relief that the simple elegance of the Everyman won through.’

Robert Sakula, founder, Ash Sakula
‘I loved the Everyman when I visited. It is a movingly beautiful building and a worthy winner. I hoped it could win, but never thought it would. And Liverpool needs prizes so much more than London.’

Benjamin Derbyshire, partner, HTA
‘Everyman! A building with straight sides and a level roof - one with eponymous qualities to be enjoyed by the man in the street! Well done, Stirling judges we applaud your popular choice.’

James Soane, director, Project Orange
‘The great thing about the Everyman winning is that it is a vote for supporting culture and the arts. In winning the Stirling Prize the Everyman marks a turning from architecture as icon building to architecture as cultural place making. It is about time…’

John Assael, director, Assael Architecture
‘And the winner is a surprise. Well done to the Everyman team.’

Jeff Brooks, design director, PRP
‘I’m encouraged and slightly surprised at the non-Shard choice. The Everyman is a crafted piece and a worthy winner.’

Malcolm Reading, chairman, Malcolm Reading Consultants
‘Robust, energetic and visually arresting - a great example of how contemporary art and architecture can combine to create a positive urban experience. Architecturally, an up to date and fun refinement of the decorated shed. Bravo!’

Carl Turner, director, Carl Turner Architects
‘It’s great news that all the awards went to projects scattered around the British Isles showing that great design is being delivered and supported both in town and country.

‘I am genuinely delighted that the Everyman has been awarded the Stirling Prize. I commenced my studies in Liverpool and the Everyman bar then located in the basement was the social epicentre of Liverpool. It seemed the theatre reflected the very charismatic nature of the city and this could have easily been lost with it’s rebuilding. Instead the new theatre seems to have captured this spirit and the whole process is an exemplar for what community architecture can be, and the vale and vision that architects can bring to that process.

‘It wasn’t what I was expecting!’

Stephen Witherford of Stirling Prize 2013-winners Witherford Watson Mann
‘I had the Everyman in my top two. Under Stephen Hodder we have had Joseph Rykwert win the RIBA Gold Medal, Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey named for the 2015 Gold Medal and our Astley Castle project take home the Stirling Prize in 2013. There is a recognition of craftsmanship, the design integrity and the making of the “thing”.

‘The Everyman has huge social resonance – as does Astley Castle though we didn’t know it at the time.

‘If the award is for the project that has made the greatest ‘contribution’, then I was surprised that the Shard had even made the shortlist. It is described as a vertical extension of the city – but as a completely privatised, non-diverse building it is not the kind of building I want to live in.’ 

Joe Morris of Duggan Morris
‘It was a really strong shortlist, my mind had been fixed before the evening on the LSE. However I’d spotted the Everyman in the RIBA Awards mid-list. I felt it was a strong contender at that time.

‘It has a human, cultural, contextual and historical story.

‘I’m surprised the jury reached this conclusion – so often there seems to be political and sociological [reasons involved] – but this feels like the right decision.’   

Rab Bennetts, director, Bennetts Associates
‘I’m delighted Haworth Tompkins won as it seems a very subtle and beautiful piece of work.

‘Steve and Graham were among Bennetts Associates ’ first employees. We very much admire what they’ve done.’

  • 4 Comments

Readers' comments (4)

  • JustFacades.com

    well done guys

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  • That the most carbon efficient and sustainable building won is excellent news. Congratulations to Haworth Tompkins!

    Simon Sturgis, Director, Sturgis Carbon Profiling

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  • On behalf of Amron Associates Limited, as suppliers to the project, may I offer our sincerest congratulations to Haworth Tompkins on winning the Stirling prize.
    Trevor Henshaw, Managing Director Amron Associates Limited

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  • Only one winner, and Everyman's success doesn't detract from Saw Swee Hock's vision and achievements. Great that the jury has focused on Everyman's humanistic qualities, and wonderful that Steve Tompkins takes the award as encouragement to resist 'speeding up and dumbing down'.

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