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Everyman Theatre

After 10 years of design led by Haworth Tompkins and Charcoalblue and two years of construction by Gilbert-Ash the new Everyman opened in March 2014. The building is the production base for both the Everyman and Playhouse theatres as well as the company’s extensive youth, education and outreach activity. Designed from the outset to meet high environmental and accessibility standards, the building includes largely natural ventilation systems, a combined heat and power plant, rainwater harvesting, air source heat pumps for heating the auditorium and wheelchair access to all areas, both front and back of house.

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-04-Philip-Vile-759x877 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© Philip Vile

The Liverpool Everyman is a new theatre, won in open European competition, for an internationally regarded producing company. The scope of work includes a 400 seat adaptable auditorium, a smaller performance and development space, a large rehearsal room, public foyers, exhibition spaces, catering and bar facilities, along with supporting offices, workshops and ancillary spaces. The entire façade is a large, collaborative work of public art. The design combines thermally massive construction with a series of natural ventilation systems and low energy technical infrastructures to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating for this complex and densely inhabited urban building.

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-06-flickr-Terry-Bouch-759x504 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© flickr-Terry Bouch

“The Everyman project has been a labour of love for almost a decade, during which time we’ve come to understand the unique quality of Liverpool’s architecture and the deep civic pride of its people. I hope this new incarnation of the Everyman will command the same affection and loyalty as the previous one, and inspire a new generation of Liverpool theatre makers and audiences.” – Steve Tompkins, Director of Haworth Tompkins said

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-08-Philip-Vile-759x702 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© Philip Vile

The Everyman holds an important place in Liverpool culture. The original theatre, converted from the 19th century Hope Hall chapel, had served the city well as a centre of creativity, conviviality and dissent (often centred in its famous subterranean Bistro) but by the new millennium the building was in need of complete replacement to serve a rapidly expanding production and participation programme. Haworth Tompkins’ brief was to design a technically advanced and highly adaptable new theatre that would retain the friendly, democratic accessibility of the old building, project the organisation’s values of cultural inclusion, community engagement and local creativity, and encapsulate the collective identity of the people of Liverpool. The new building occupies the same sensitive, historic city centre site in Hope Street, immediately adjacent to Liverpool’s Catholic cathedral and surrounded by 18th and 19th century listed buildings, so a balance of sensitivity and announcement in the external public realm was a significant design criterion. Another central aspect of the brief was to design an urban public building with exceptional energy efficiency both in construction and in use.

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-11-Philip-Vile-759x398 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© Philip Vile

“Our desire to return to Liverpool a much loved theatre containing its original democratic and renegade spirit but offering audiences and artists hitherto unknown accessibility, sustainability and technical facilities was a tough brief. Haworth Tompkins listened not only to the nuance of our artistic vision but embraced the spirit of it in every detail. The new Everyman is both familiar and dazzling, homely and awe-inspiring. It will be an inspiration for generations of artists and audiences to come and a present joy to all who encounter it.” – Gemma Bodinetz, Artistic Director of Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, said

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-13-flickr-Terry-Bouch-759x504 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© flickr-Terry Bouch

The building makes use of the complex and constrained site geometry by arranging the public spaces around a series of half levels, establishing a continuous winding promenade from street to auditorium. Foyers and catering spaces are arranged on three levels including a new Bistro, culminating in a long piano nobile foyer overlooking the street. The auditorium is an adaptable thrust stage space of 400 seats, constructed from the reclaimed bricks of Hope Hall and manifesting as the internal walls of the foyers. The building incorporates numerous creative workspaces, with a rehearsal room, workshops, a sound studio, a Writers’ Room overlooking the foyer, and EV1 – a special studio dedicated to the Young Everyman Playhouse education and community groups. A diverse disability group has monitored the design from the outset.

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-14-flickr-Terry-Bouch-750x1000 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© flickr-Terry Bouch

Externally, local red brick was selected for the walls and four large ventilation stacks, giving the building a distinct silhouette and meshing it into the surrounding architecture. The main west facing façade of the building conceived by Steve Tompkins, is as a large-scale public work of art consisting of 105 moveable metal sunshades, each one carrying a life-sized, water-cut portrait of a contemporary Liverpool resident. Working with Liverpool photographer Dan Kenyon, the project engaged every section of the city’s community in a series of public events, so that the completed building can be read as a collective family snapshot of the population in all its diversity. Typologist and artist Jake Tilson created a special font for a new version of the iconic red ‘Everyman’ sign, whilst regular collaborating artist Antoni Malinowski made a large painted ceiling piece for the foyer, to complement an internal palette of brickwork, black steel, oak, reclaimed Iroko, deeply coloured plywood and pale in situ concrete.

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-15-Philip-Vile-759x633 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© Philip Vile

The Everyman has been conceived from the outset as an exemplar of sustainable good practice. An earlier feasibility study had recommended a much larger and more expensive building on a new site, but Haworth Tompkins argued for the importance of continuity and compactness on the original site. Carefully dismantling the existing structure, all the nineteenth century bricks were salvaged for reuse as the shell of the new auditorium and recycled the timbers of the roof structure. By making clever use of the site footprint Haworth Tompkins avoided the need to acquire a bigger site and demolish more adjoining buildings. Together with the client team they distilled the space brief into its densest and most adaptable form.

Having minimised the space and material requirement of the project, the fabric was designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, unusual for an urban theatre building. Natural ventilation for the main performance and workspaces is achieved via large roof vents and underfloor intake plenums, using thermal mass as pre-cooling. The fully exposed concrete structure (with a high percentage of cement replacement) and reclaimed brickwork walls provide excellent thermal mass, while the orientation and fenestration design optimize solar response – the entire west façade is designed as a large screen of moveable sunshades. Offices and ancillary spaces are ventilated via opening windows.

The building has taken almost a decade of intensive teamwork to conceive, build consensus, fundraise, design and build, and the design will ensure a long future life of enjoyment by a diverse population of artists, audiences and staff.

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-17-Philip-Vile-759x506 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© Philip Vile

Sustainability:

  • The Everyman has been conceived from the outset as an exemplar of sustainable good practice. An earlier feasibility study had considered replacing the Playhouse and Everyman in a much larger and more expensive building on a new site, but Haworth Tompkins argued for the importance of continuity and compactness on the original site. Carefully dismantling the existing structure, the nineteenth century bricks were salvaged for reuse as the shell of the new auditorium and the majority of other material were recycled for use elsewhere. As it was not possible to acquire a bigger site and demolish more adjoining buildings, it was necessary to make efficient use of the site footprint. Together with the client team the space brief was distilled into its densest and most adaptable form.
  • Having minimised the space and material requirement of the project, the fabric was designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, unusual for an urban theatre building. Natural ventilation is used for all the main performance and workspaces.
Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-21-flickr-Alan-Cookson-759x569 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© flickr-Alan Cookson

Key design features:

  • In the auditorium, outdoor air is supplied to the audience without the need for mechanical assistance for the majority of the summer and all through the autumn and spring. This is achieved by drawing in air from an inlet to the rear and using the thermal mass of the large plenum under the workshop floor for pre-cooling. An air-source heat pump allows incoming air to be heated or cooled when necessary with fan assistance for smaller winter air volumes or as a boost during exceptionally high temperatures.
  • The air is then supplied to the space through an arrangement of openings behind and below the seats. The people and lighting help to warm the air, making it buoyant, and causing it rise to high level. From here, it is carried away through an acoustically attenuated exhaust plenum integrated within the technical gallery level to the exhaust chimneys.
  • The chimney’s height above the intake is required to achieve the stack effect and ensure the air flow is predominantly up and out.
  • EV1 also has a street level intake, feeding floor grills, and has chimney slots for extract. The rehearsal room is ventilated by roof windcatchers, supplemented with opening terrace doors. The foyers are vented via opening screens and a large lightwell.
  • The fully exposed concrete structure (with a high percentage of cement replacement) and reclaimed brickwork walls provide excellent thermal mass, while the orientation and fenestration design optimize solar response – the entire west façade is designed as a large screen of moveable sunshades. Offices and ancillary spaces are ventilated via opening windows. The basement bistro is the only principal space to be mechanically ventilated.
  • Out of the low carbon energy systems considered, Gas Fired CHP was selected so that the electrical output compliments the pattern of use of year round hot water demand for catering, showers etc. Rainwater is harvested to provide a proportion of WC flushing demand.
  • The front of house and auditorium house lighting schemes use entirely low energy LED fittings. The design of the auditorium provides a large degree of flexibility to allow it to adapt to future artistic and technical demands.
  • The building has taken almost a decade of intensive teamwork to conceive, achieve consensus, fundraise, design, and build, and the design will ensure a long future life of enjoyment by a diverse population of artists, audiences and staff.
Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-23-Philip-Vile-759x327 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© Philip Vile

Haworth Tompkins Architects:

The Everyman is a new theatre to replace the 19th century home of an iconic Liverpool institution. The building makes use of the constrained topography of the site by arranging the public spaces around a series of half levels, establishing a continuous winding promenade from street to auditorium. Foyers and catering spaces are arranged on three levels including a new Bistro, culminating in a long piano nobile foyer overlooking the street. The auditorium is an adaptable thrust stage space of 400 seats, constructed from the reclaimed bricks of Hope Hall and manifesting itself as the internal walls of the foyers.

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-25-Philip-Vile-759x738 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© Philip Vile

The building incorporates numerous creative workspaces, with a rehearsal room, workshops, a sound studio, a Writers’ Room overlooking the foyer, and EV1 – a special studio dedicated to the Young Everyman Playhouse education and community groups. Externally, local red brick was selected for the walls and four large ventilation stacks, giving the building a distinct silhouette and meshing it into the surrounding architecture. The design combines thermally massive construction with a series of natural ventilation systems and low energy technical infrastructures to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating for this complex and densely inhabited urban building.

The main west facing facade of the building is as a large-scale public work of art consisting of 105 moveable metal sunshades, each one carrying a life-sized, water-cut portrait of a contemporary Liverpool resident. Typographer and artist Jake Tilson created a special font for a new version of the iconic red ‘Everyman’ sign, whilst regular collaborating visual artist Antoni Malinowski made a large painted ceiling piece for the foyer, to complement an internal palette of brickwork, black steel, oak, reclaimed Iroko, deeply coloured plywood and pale in situ concrete.

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-29-Philip-Vile-759x767 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

© Philip Vile

About Everyman Theatre:

In 1964 four students Martin Jenkins, Peter James, Terry Hands and Michael Freeman founded the Everyman Theatre company in Liverpool, opening on 28 th September with a schools matinee of Henry IV and The Caretaker in the evening. The company had taken over both the building and name from the Everyman Cinema in Hope Street. The name only dated back to 1961, but the building was much older. Opened in 1837 as a revivalist chapel, it became the Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist in 1841 and was converted to Hope Hall, a public lecture and concert hall, in 1853. After minimal alterations it became a cinema in 1912, closing in 1959, to be reopened two years later as the Everyman Cinema. Throughout these 127 years the building retained its chapel format with balcony round three sides of an auditorium and a platform stage where the pulpit had originally stood. A major refurbishment completed in 1977 moved the stage up to the balcony level, creating much needed foyer and dressing room space in what had been the stalls. This format remained for the next 47 years until demolition in 2011 and the new building has returned to a two level auditorium, surrounded by facilities needed, but lacking, since 1964.

Everyman-Theatre-By-Haworth-Tompkins-Architects-before-04-public-domain-759x482 Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins Architects

before – © public domain

Project Data:

Project name: Everyman Theatre
Location: 3-11 Hope Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 53.403048, -2.969480
Type: Theatre and Auditorium, Adaptive Reuse
Auditorium: 406 seats in standard thrust format
Gross Internal Area: 4,690 sqm
Project Start: November 2011
Status: Completed
Construction Cost: £13.4M
Completion Date: October 2013
Visit Everyman Theatre’s website: here

Awards:

  • 2014 – Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards – RIBA Stirling Prize – Winner
  • 2014 – Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards – RIBA National Award – Winner
  • 2014 – Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards – RIBA North West Award – Building of the Year
  • 2014 – Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards – RIBA North West Regional Award – Winner
  • 2014 – WAN Awards – Category: Performing Spaces – Winner
  • 2014 – Blueprint Awards – Category: Best Public Use Project – Winner
  • 2014 – LABC Building Excellence Awards – Category: Best public service building – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: The Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust
Architects: Haworth Tompkins Architects – 33 Greenwood Place, London NW5 1LB, United Kingdom
Interiors & Furniture Design: Haworth Tompkins with citizens design bureau
Collaborating Artist: Antoni Malinowski
Project Manager: GVA Acuity
Contractor: Gilbert-Ash
Engineers:

  • Structural Engineer: Alan Baxter & Associates
  • Service Engineer: Watermans Building Services
  • Acoustic Engineer: Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design
  • Mechanical & Electrical: Waternan Building Services

Consultants:

  • Theatre Consultant: Charcoalblue
  • Quantity Surveyor: Gardiner & Theobald
  • Access Consultant: Earnscliffe Davies Associates
  • CDM Coordinator: Turner and Townsend
  • Typographer: Jake Tilson
  • Portrait Photographer: Dan Kenyon

Text Description: © Courtesy of Haworth Tompkins Architects
Images: © Haworth Tompkins Architects, Philip Vile, flickr-Kev Thomas, flickr-Terry Bouch, flickr-Alan Cookson, flickr-clifford stead

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