The Lyric Theatre

Multi-award winning theatre project, RIBA Stirling Prize shortlisted 2012

Value £18 million
Client Lyric Theatre Trust
Architect O’Donnell & Tuomey
Employer's Agent EC Harris (Belfast)
Surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall
Mechanical & Electrical IN2


Stirling Prize shortlisted, multi-award winning theatre project built by Gilbert-Ash.

Gilbert-Ash was appointed as main contractor on this multi-award winning theatre project. It involved the demolition of the existing theatre building and replacing it with a new state of the art performing theatre, along with external landscaped gardens. The facilities include a 389 seat auditorium; the main performance area, a second performance studio accommodating between 110 and 150 people, and a rehearsal room the same size as the main auditorium stage.

Other facilities include: • Education suite • Rehearsal space • Green room • Dressing rooms • Board room • Backstage facilities • Box office • Café/Bar


Royal Institute of British Architects Award 2012

Best Cultural Building Award at the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) 2012

Building of the Year at the Royal Society of Ulster Architects awards 2012

 Department of the Environment Planning Award in the £2.5m+ Buildings Category

The Brick Awards - Supreme Winner Award, Best Public Building, Specialist Brickwork Contractor of the Year

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award’ from the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards

Civic Trust Award Irish Concrete Society Awards: Overall Winner Award and Building Category Award

Project features & challenges

Ø Restricted site in a busy residential area with narrow streets, flanked on one side by the river Ø Theatre uses the full footprint of the site, requiring careful space planning for logistics

Ø Extensive brickwork internally & externally including 100 brick ‘specials’

Ø Concrete bar made in a one-pour process, with high polished finish

Ø Specially commissioned stone carvings & bespoke window sizes

Ø Iroko timber auditorium that had to fit together seamlessly

Ø Every seat in the auditorium is at a specific angle, tapering in from the edge of the theatre to optimise the user experience, required detailed planning

Ø Technically complex acoustics

Environmental initiatives

· Project achieved a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating
· Recycled or natural materials specified where possible.
· Recycled material was used in the aggregate below the ground floor slab.
· Registered on the project with the Considerate Constructor’s Scheme and complied with the CCS guidance - site achieved an overall score of 32 out of 40.
· Processed 605 tonnes of materials for recycling on the project

 Social & economic

· Achieved a significant reduction over building regulations in relation to the building’s CO2 emission levels by improving u-values,specifying energy efficient lighting systems/zoning and integrating low carbon technology.

· Ensured CO2 emissions associated with transport and those travelling to and from the building are minimised through the provision of safe access to well served public transport services, on-sitecyclist facilities and the development of a site specific Travel Plan

· Enhanced the site’s ecology (adjoining Lyric woods) by working with Belfast City Council and a landscape architect to ensure existing ecology is protected, preserved and enhanced by the introduction of locally native species and environmental features that can be enjoyed by thelocal wildlife and the building occupants.

· Ensured the construction site is managed in an environmentally and socially considerate and accountable manner by committing to achieve ambitious targets under the Considerate Constructors Scheme and minimising construction site impacts.

· In education, the construction process was usedas a learning resource with multiple site visits arranged providing access toarchitectural associations, local university students and lectures held to promote the project locally and internationally.