Music: 'Nights Tale' by Dexter Britain (http://dexterbritain.co.uk)
Friday, February 22, 2013
Another important step has been taken towards the building of a Visitor Centre at the heart of the Great Fen.
In October the Great Fen Project Partners announced a design competition to be hosted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). In the first stage of the competition design teams across the UK and Europe were invited to submit preliminary proposals which would be be assessed anonymously.
There was a tremendous response including many interesting and unusual designs. In all, 201 entries were received with over 50 coming from European architecture practices. This is the biggest competition entry RIBA has experienced in recent years and Cindy Walters, the RIBA Architect Adviser to the competition, said:
The Great Fen Project Partners ought to be congratulated on choosing an open and anonymous first stage for this competition. In an industry where procurement is often biased towards track record, it is refreshing to find clients who are still prepared to run competitions that give practices of all sizes and experience the chance of being selected for an ambitious and exciting project such as this. Short-listing was a challenge due to the unusually high number and calibre of submissions received - we were all fascinated to subsequently learn the names of the practices behind the preliminary proposals.
The members of the judging panel were impressed by both the quantity and the quality of the submissions. In particular it was fascinating to see how competitors had addressed the unique flatness of the Fens, the big Fenland skies and the horizon as a feature in the landscape. It was a difficult task to whittle down 201 entries to a short list of four and, in view of the range of site approaches and building types proposed, the panel recommended that the short-list should be increased from four to five.
The five short-listed teams were subsequently identified as (in alphabetical order) :
Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects
Boyarsky Murphy Architects
Feilden + Mawson
Foster Lomas Architects
Shiro Studio Ltd.
Kate Carver (Great Fen Project Manager) said:
The Great Fen Project Partners are delighted with the enthusiastic response to their call for a Visitor Centre design- it is a great testament to the national and international standing of the Great Fen. The Project Partners are now looking forward to the ultimate selection of a design that will embody and progress their vision for the Great Fen.
The stage-one design concepts were developed and the five teams will present their schemes to the judging panel in late April 2013.
The final results of the competition are here.