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New RIBA Design Ideas Competition Launch for Great Fen Visitor Centre


16 October 2012

Press release contact:

Julia Davies
T: +44 (0)113 203 1490
E: julia.davies@riba.org

Launch of Design Ideas Competition - Great Fen Visitor Centre

RIBA Competitions is pleased to announce the launch of a two-stage Design Ideas Competition for the Great Fen Visitor Centre in Cambridgeshire. The competition is being promoted by the Great Fen - a partnership which comprises the Environment Agency, Huntingdonshire District Council, Middle Level Commissioners, Natural England and The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. 

Great Fen is an internationally acclaimed vision, one of sweeping scale and ambition. Over the next 50-100 years, more than 3,000ha of largely arable land will be transformed into a mosaic of habitat: open water, lakes, ponds and ditches; reedbed; fen, bog and marsh; wet grassland; dry grassland; woodland and scrub. Ninety-nine percent of the great East Anglian wetland has been lost over time. Rare and endangered specis of fenland plants and animals are now compressed into tiny refuge areas, precious fragments of wild fen. Two of these, Holme Fen National Nature Reserve and Woodwalton Fen National Nature Reserve are central to the Great Fen Vision, which seeks to create around and between them a restored fenland landscape - a living landscape for wildlife and people.

The circa £2m [+VAT] Visitor Centre will be an integral and essential part of the evolving fenland landscape, stimulating explorartion, and serving its visitors to the highest standards. The winning scheme will need to reflect the overall ambition of the Great Fen, with an exceptional building that makes best use of the site qualities and an exemplar of sustainability in construction and use. The competition is open to design teams based in Europe and the UK, which should include the services of a practising registered architect, landscape architect [and may be led by either discipline] and a quantity surveyor. Up to 4 schemes will be short-listed from the anonymous Stage 1 entries. Stage 2 will involve further exploration and refinement of the Stage 1 design concepts, with the short-listed teams invited to attend an interview and make a presentation to the Judging Panel. Each short-listed team will receive an honorarium of £3,000 (+VAT). 

For details of how to register for the competition and how to access the Competition Brief, please visit: www.architecture.com/competitions|. Please note that registrations will close on Wednesday 19 December 2012, and the deadline for Stage 1 design submissions is 2pm on Thursday 10 January 2013.

Notes to editors

  • Please ensure RIBA Competitions is credited when mentioning the above competition. RIBA Competitions delivers variety, inspiration and value through expertly run design and architectural competitions. For further details visit www.architecture.com/competitions.  
  • The Great Fen is one of the most important wildlife projects in Europe. The wild fens once stretched for hundreds of miles across Eastern England, home to a great variety of wildlife, much of it unique to the area. In the 17th century when the land was drained for farming more than 99% of this wild habitat disappeared. The last two fragments of wild fen are under threat and the Great Fen aim to connect these precious fragments creating a vast fen landscape for people and for wildlife between the cities of Huntingdon and Peterborough. For further details visit www.greatfen.org.uk.



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