• 19 December 2014

Everyman Theatre wins the RIBA Stirling Prize

Liverpool’s newly rebuilt Everyman Theatre has won the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize for best new building of the year.

Drawn from the 56 RIBA National and EU Award winners, the venue beat the five other shortlisted buildings including; London’s Shard, the Library of Birmingham, Manchester School of Art, the London Aquatics Centre and the LSE Student Centre.

Waterman has been actively involved in the development programme for the Everyman, being responsible for the full detailed design of all Building Services Engineering. Special features of the services design included a hybrid, naturally ventilated auditorium, as well as distinctive roof mounted stack chimneys, which contributed to the overall impression of the Theatre. The design delivers one of the first naturally ventilated auditoriums in the country, maintaining “total acoustic isolation”. Waterman also provided the commissioning management role to help achieve the Excellent BREEAM rating that the building received at design stage.

everyman-thetare_intJonathan Purcell, Director of Building Services, gives us an insight into working on the RIBA Stirling Prize Winner: “Design of the inlet chamber and in particular the four roof mounted stack chimneys were as a result of many iterations following extensive thermal modelling and computational fluid dynamic modelling. So much time was spent on the design of the chimneys that they became affectionately named Paul, John, George and Ringo, after Liverpool’s most famous sons.”

Building work commenced in January 2012, with completion and hand over in November 2013. He continues: “January of this year saw us carrying out functionality tests using electric heaters to replicate the audiences heat gain and then carrying out smoke tests in various stage configurations to assess air movement and air quality. We found that under natural ventilation design conditions the air change rate was in the region of 10 air changes per hour (it was noted that all trace of smoke was cleared from all parts of the Auditorium in under 6 minutes), a phenomenal amount of air movement, based on body heat and lighting gains only.Interestingly, the air movement patterns observed throughout the smoke tests mimicked, almost exactly those modelled using our in-house CFD software.”

Nick Taylor, CEO of Waterman Group, commented: “We are honoured to have been part of the project team behind this prestigious award. The intensive collaboration over nine years has contributed to the unique blend of historical and new design with innovative engineering making the Everyman Theatre a land mark building in the heart of Liverpool.”

The RIBA judges highlighted the environmental design including passive natural ventilation and low energy design as one of the key aspects of the buildings success. They cited: “It is exceptionally sustainable; not only did the construction re-use 90% of the material from the old theatre, but all spaces are naturally ventilated including the auditorium with its 440 seats. Clever, out of sight concrete labyrinths supply and expel air whilst maintaining total acoustic isolation. It is one of the first naturally ventilated auditoria in the UK. The generosity of its public spaces, which, on a tight site, are unexpected and delightful, are used throughout the day and night. In summary, an extraordinary contribution to both theatre and the city, achieved through clever team working – client, architect, consultants and contractor – where the new truly celebrates the past.”

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