Lyric lands more awards

By Stephen McVey

T he Lyric Theatre has added new prestigious design awards to its already bulging trophy cabinet. The South Belfast theatre has now amassed an amazing 16 awards in its opening year, with the latest being ‘Best Cultural Building’ at the Irish Architecture Awards, and an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The latter prize means the Lyric could now be shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling prize, alongside London’s Olympic Stadium.

Designed by Dublin-based architects O’Donnell and Tuomey, the £18.1m theatre just celebrated its first anniversary in the new building on the banks of the River Lagan and has quickly become a treasured feature of the Belfast cityscape.

Winning architect John Tuomey explained how the judging process gave credence to winning awards such as a RIBA.

“The RIBA awards mean a lot to architects because the judges visit every shortlisted building. The award is for how well the building works and how well it is built. The award reflects functional and material reality rather than photographic representation and it confers the approval of your peers.”

The Lyric’s Chairman, Mark Carruthers, said that everyone connected to the Lyric deserved credit for its success.

“We always said we wanted our new home to be a landmark building which would be both beautiful and practical. Our architects, O’Donnell and Tuomey, and builders, Gilbert Ash, have created a stunning modern building, which has wowed everyone who’s visited it during its first year.

It’s been a huge team effort all round and everyone in the Lyric family can now share in the success of winning both these architectural awards,” he said.

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