Government watchdog the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment has praised Haworth Tompkins Architects' designs for the new Everyman theatre on Hope Street in Liverpool.
Indeed, CABE positively purred about the project and said it had "the potential to be an exemplar project in all aspects of its design".
The new building will feature a façade with 105 life-sized, abstracted portraits of Liverpool people transferred onto cut aluminium shutters to represent the local community as well as those who have worked at and for the theatre.
The watchdog's design review panel said: "The delicate shutters create an elegant and restrained front façade with a rhythm that resonates with the existing Georgian architecture on Hope Street. The success of the façade will depend on the quality of the materials and detailing, the framing and fixing details in particular. A good cleaning strategy will also be essential to maintain the condition of the anodised aluminium panels."
The reviewers said the "building promises to make Liverpool proud and we wish the project well".
Deborah Aydon, executive director of the Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust, owner and operator of the Everyman and Playhouse, said: "We are delighted with the response from CABE. The design for the new Everyman is the product of many years' work and close collaboration with Haworth Tompkins and the rest of an exceptional design team. It combines quality with economy; addresses environmental as well as artistic concerns; and really captures the spirit of this unique theatre. We believe the new Everyman will inspire, excite and entice for decades to come."
CABE went on to recommended public realm improvements already started on Hope Street carry on to take in the stretch between the Philharmonic Hall and Everyman.
The Everyman currently occupies a cramped and out-dated building originally used as a church. The size of theatre will more than double from 6,000 sq ft to 12,000 sq ft.
The total budget for the redevelopment of the Everyman is £28m. The funding plan includes £15m from Arts Council England and £2.5m invested from the North West Development Agency.
The new theatre is expected to open in 2013. The planning application was submitted in May.
Read the CABE design review in full here
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