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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Pods win design prizes
The striking pods were built on reclaimed land
A futuristic new performing arts rehearsal centre in Plymouth is this year's British Building of the Year.

The three bronze-clad pods of the Theatre Royal's TR2 building, built on waste land at Cattedown on the River Plym, were opened in May.

TR2 was up against a shortlist Manchester's new Commonwealth Games athletics stadium and the London Town Hall, designed by Sir Norman Foster.

But it was the overwhelming decision of the judges that TR2, designed by London-based Ian Ritchie Architects, should be the winner.

TR2 was built to house the Theatre Royal's production and education programme.

Local theatre and dance companies are based there.

Ian Ritchie has designed precisely the influential landmark building which we wanted for Plymouth
Theatre Royal chief executive, Adrian Vinken
The 8m building also houses the theatre's joiners, metal fabricators, prop makers, wardrobe staff and scenic artists

One of the judges, Dame Antoinette Sibley of the Royal Fine Art Commission, said: "It was the overwhelming quality of the spaces which we found so inspiring and the little surprises which the building throws up as you move around it."

The architect used woven bronze fabric to clad the outside surfaces of rehearsal spaces, with other walls being made of glass or beaten zinc.

TR2 is used as an education and rehearsal space
Adrian Vinken, Theatre Royal chief executive, said: "To gain such a prestigious award is a very public recognition of the phenomenal hard work and commitment that went into making TR2 a reality.

"It's a real tribute to the courage of all our funding partners who have supported the project through some difficult times.

"Ian Ritchie has designed precisely the influential landmark building which we wanted for Plymouth, a real flagship for development and regeneration."

Ian Ritchie said "Our client set out to achieve the best and has done it.

"They had to depend not only upon their own skills and wit, but so much on others too.

"That requires courage and trust. Bravo!"

TR2 has now won two of the three major annual architectural prizes awarded in Britain.

The first award was the Design Excellence award from the American Institute of Architects.

Next week the theatre will learn the outcome of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awards for the South West region and whether it will be one of the seven finalists for the third prize, the national Sterling Award.

Chance to see behind the scenes
27 Apr 03  |  Devon
Milestone for new theatre building
11 Dec 02  |  England

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