The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK has been named the 2011 RIBA Client of the Year supported by the Bloxham Charitable Trust.
The Royal Shakespeare Company has commissioned a formidable portfolio of projects, including the Stirling Prize nominated Royal Shakespeare Theatre with Bennetts Associates, Ian Ritchie's temporary Courtyard Theatre, and the Swan Theatre and Chapel Lane studio building also with Bennetts Associates. In 2011, the RSC constructed a temporary replica of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre's new auditorium in New York City.
The RIBA Client of the Year award honors the key role that a good client plays in the creation of fine architecture. They consider clients of the year's RIBA Award-winning schemes but take into account a track record of previous successful commissioning, particularly where this has led to earlier RIBA Awards.
The judges named the Royal Shakespeare Company the 2011 Client of the Year for being 'exceptional'. They added, 'the most remarkable thing about the RSC as a client is the way in which they have consistently looked at the big picture. Their buildings represent a formidable portfolio of high quality patronage, and have been carried out in a collaborative way with the RSC’s theatrical designers fully integrated with the architect-led teams.'
The announcement was made at the RIBA Stirling Prize 2011 Dinner in association with The Architects' Journal and Benchmark on Saturday, October 1 at Magna Science Adventure Center in Rotherham. Tom Bloxham MBE, architect and founder of Urban Splash, announced the winner, and the award was presented by RIBA Chief Executive Harry Rich. The award was judged by architect and Chair of Awards Deborah Saunt; architect Bob Allies, and Tony Chapman, Head of RIBA Awards.
Speaking about the Royal Shakespeare Company, Chair of judges Deborah Saunt said:
'The RIBA Client of the Year usually goes to a client for a body of work encompassing a number of different projects on a variety of sites. But once in a while - and the MCC springs to mind - the RIBA rewards the successful culmination of a series of commissions to bring an institution up to date and to work for a wider constituency than ever before. The RSC is another fine example in this tradition. Through a long, complex and exhaustive process, working with a number of architects, but Bennetts Associates in particular, they have brought into the theater people who would never have dreamed of going before and given them theatrical experiences to treasure for the rest of their lives.'
The other clients shortlisted for the award were: