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Lyric’s praises sung by judges

By Claire Tennyson

THE Lyric Theatre has impressed a panel of architects to win a hat-trick of awards at the Royal Society of Ulster Architects’ Design Awards 2012.

The landmark new theatre won the Liam McCormick prize for the “Building of the Year” at the 2012 Design Awards, completing a string of accolades for the £18.1m theatre, which marks its first anniversary this month.

Designed by Dublin-based architects O’Donnell and Tuomey, the Lyric Theatre was on a shortlist of six buildings selected from over 50 entries representing commercial, residential and conservation projects in Northern Ireland.

“The long-anticipated completion of the Lyric Theatre has been more than worth it,” said the judging panel citation.

“The quality of the interior spaces, its sensitive response to a challenging site and the expansion of the Lyric’s ability to function literally behind the scenes make this a stunning accomplishment and a pleasure to spend time in.”

The Lyric also won the Department of the Environment award for sensitive planning and was one of two buildings to win in the over £2.5m construction category.

The awards were presented at a gala ceremony in the new Titanic Belfast and represent a first step on the way to winning an RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) award.

Ciarán McAuley, Lyric Chief Executive, said winning the top accolade was yet another reason to celebrate the theatre’s first birthday.

“It has been a fantastic opening year for the Lyric,” he said. “We are delighted to receive so many awards and such praise locally and internationally.”

The Lyric’s Chairman, Mark Carruthers, said: “We always said we wanted our new home to be a landmark building which would be both beautiful and practical.

“We were faced with all kinds of challenges during the design and construction stages, but despite everything our site threw at us, our architects, O’Donnell and Tuomey, and our builders, Gilbert Ash, have created a stunning modern building, which has wowed everyone who’s visited it during its first year.

“On behalf of the Lyric I want to thank everyone who’s been involved in the project – no matter how big or how small that involvement has been – for helping to make the theatre such a great success.”

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