Meet the finalists

All Finalists2020 Winners

Mark Wolverson MCIOB

Willmott Dixon

Mark Wolverson’s measured, diplomatic but determined approach was key to moving this wreck of a building back to its art deco glamour years. His technical ability and problem-solving skills drove the development of a workable design for a complex project that could be delivered on time and budget. His construction of a new roof over the existing structure avoided a scaffolding nightmare by allowing the original roof to be removed afterwards, and protected the ornate heritage ceiling underneath.

About the Project

The Globe Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees

Restoration of derelict art deco landmark, completed in 84 weeks.

Client: Stockton Borough Council

Contract: NEC

Value: £24m

It took all of Mark Wolverson’s knowledge, skill and problem-solving ability to return this wreck of a building to the glorious heights of art deco glamour it offered on opening night back in 1935.

The problems were legion. Much of the steel work had weakened, the timbers had rotted, the stalls and orchestra pit, eight metres below ground level, were filled with water to stage level. What was left of the art deco plasterwork, friezes and cornicing was falling apart. The building needed a new roof and a new below-ground concrete raft for a new raised stalls level.

So serious was the challenge that contractor-client relations were suffering, with Mark brought in to scrutinise whether the stuttering project was deliverable. Made the project lead four months later after identifying, among other issues, that the design was unachievable (there was, for example, no under-stage seating storage to allow the audience capacity to be flexed from 1,700 to 3,000), he swiftly brought operations back on track.

Mark’s technical ability and analytical skills drove the development of a more workable design that could be delivered on time and budget. On the biggest headache of all – keeping the ornate plasterwork ceiling safe from the elements while the roof was replaced – he led the innovative thinking that came up with a solution. By constructing a new roof over the original with a clear spanning structure of 30 metres, he was able to complete the new roof before removing the original, protecting the heritage fibrous plaster ceiling underneath, and avoiding a complicated scaffolding solution.

A focused and diplomatic leader, Mark challenged others without being confrontational. His measured and quietly determined approach was key to successfully delivering this hugely complex project.