The name, even, of this year’s Stirling Prize winner – Everyman Theatre in Liverpool – offers a contrast with some of the other buildings on the shortlist: the London School of Economics (LSE) Student Centre, Manchester School of Art and the Aquatic Centre built in London for the Olympic Games.
On top of this, the building itself is not even brand new, but comprises the addition, extension and renovation of an existing theatre with a long history in the local community. Actually starting as a church building that was converted into a theatre over time, it has not been practical as a space for theatre in the 21st century until the recent rebuilding. Situated along one of the most important streets in Liverpool, however, it was a very popular building.
Haworth-Tompkins, the architects, made use of colour and texture to refer to the original. Most critics agree that the 105 life-sized figures of ‘ordinary’ residents of Liverpool that have been added the front of the building provide one of the most striking and popular features. These have been attached to metal sunshades from the second floor up on three levels.
Glass walls at ground and first-floor level render the building open to the street, while the space becomes part of the life of the city when the lights are on at night.