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RIBA National Award for The Word

The Word South Shields Vast Circular Atrium Space Light Feature Lh

The Word has been selected as one of forty nine buildings to be awarded a coveted RIBA National Award. The awards recognise the best buildings created in the UK in the last twelve months and the winners will now be considered for the prestigious Stirling Prize shortlist, to be revealed later this month.

The Word is a library for the 21st century, celebrating the dynamic relationship between people, books, traditional media and interactive technologies, in a truly inspiring environment.

The scheme qualified for the accolade after receiving the title of RIBA North East ‘Building of the Year’ in June, and becomes our second building in consecutive years to earn an RIBA National Award. This follows the success last year of community library and leisure facility, Hebburn Central.

Riba North East Building Of The Year The Word Exterior At Dusk Lh

The judging panel had the following to say about the scheme: “The Word, is an outstanding, public-sector project culturally, socially and architecturally, and represents a significant stage in the development of the modern public library.”

The judges praised the impact that the building is having in increasing usage of the library facilities in South Shields. In its opening six months The Word has received over 220,000 visitors, welcoming 2,000 new library members. This represents a 235% increase over the same period in the previous library building, in the previous year. Teenage memberships in particular have increased by 750%.

Steve McIntyre, Partner at FaulknerBrowns, said: “To gain this recognition at a national level is great reward for all those involved in the project. Reading the judges’ comments I’m delighted that we have been able to demonstrate the significance of The Word in the development of the library building typology, and been able to show the impact it is already having on the community of South Shields.”