The awards, held annually since 1995, are presented for buildings that have made a particularly positive contribution to the local environment. The awards this year were judged by Kees Kaan Founder of KAAN Architecture. The awards evening took place at the Museum of Science and Industry on Tuesday 21st June 2022.
The University of Liverpool’s unique teaching and performance building, The Yoko Ono Lennon Centre includes the Tung Auditorium – a world class music performance space – together with two large lecture theatres (including the 600 seat Paul Brett Lecture Theatre), seminar rooms, café space, a public facing linear park and a new outdoor space for the University.
With a floor area totalling around 6500m2 the building was planned around a careful understanding of the site and an innovative response to a challenging brief (and budget).
The lectures theatres were arranged vertically which allowed for a much smaller building footprint – freeing up the site to deliver a linear public park alongside the main arterial route adjacent to the south elevation (Grove St). This also allowed for large volume and height of Tung Auditorium to be placed adjacent to the teaching spaces, separated by the main atrium circulation space.
The upper ground floor level is the main landing spaces and provides raised visibility on a key gateway onto the campus as well as a seamless transition to a new public plaza connecting (in the near future) the University’s Sydney Jones Library. The position of the café was to feed into this new public realm (as well as being readily accessible for it’s evening role as a bar serving the Tung).
The Tung Auditorium is a 400 seat theatre that is designed primarily as a music performance space. The space also has the ability to be used as a lecture theatre but the brief also called for varied types of music performance – from orchestral through to jazz and rock. The potentially conflicting spatial and acoustic demands were a challenge for the team, but the resultant space is not a compromised one. There are a number of variable acoustic features within the auditorium that combine with the carefully crafted surfaces and materials to provide an acoustic environment that has already drawn admiration from performers, conductors technicians and audiences.
The staging and large areas of seating can be adapted and moved to allow for different types of performance and events, with a technical “attic” that sits above the space that also serves an acoustic function.
The space was designed to feel warm, welcoming and accessible and although the upper walls and ceiling are performing an important acoustic job they are deliberately played down to provide the focus on the performers and audience.
“I am thrilled to be recognised with the naming of the new performance centre at the University of Liverpool. Thank you to the University and to the people of Liverpool for this wonderful honour. Liverpool has become part of me from years of going there, and with this new centre part of me will always be there – for that I’m very thankful. I think John is smiling about it too.”
Yoko Ono Lennon
“We are thrilled to be welcoming people to the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre and The Tung Auditorium – a world class venue designed by University of Liverpool architecture graduates.”
Dame Professor Janet Beer, University of Liverpool Vice-Chancellor
“Due to its cutting edge design, The Tung Auditorium is possibly the finest concert hall in the world. The excellent acoustics will bring out the very best creativity in anyone who uses it, from students, tutors, youth groups, and amateur ensembles, to internationally acclaimed visiting artists.”
Richard Hartwell, The Tung Auditorium Artistic Director