The RIBA prize judges said, "This is a brick built Gaudi come to Manchester. What was previously understated and uninspiring has been transformed into an elaborate and engaging monument with a strong independent image, perversely a highly appropriate response to its context. It is all done with complete conviction and it is now certainly highly visible in the street scene. The project has a strong environmental agenda made manifest in the strong root forms of the natural ventilation system: these combine with a zinc 'curtain' at the entrance to create a highly theatrical effect, with references to Gaudi and the castles of southern Germany, in some way architecture as stage set. The theatre has an uplifting atmosphere and this is unquestionably an exciting and eccentric addition to the Manchester scene."

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