Expressions of Interest are sought for the design of a non-denominational reception building that will provide commemorative services for a green burial site to be created at Alne Wood Park, near Alcester. RIBA Competitions is managing the selection process on behalf of Warwickshire landowner Felix Dennis - who is working in partnership with registered charity The Heart of England Forest Ltd. - to plant and preserve a large native broadleaf forest in the heart of England. The green burial site seeks to complement this overarching vision via an appropriate development that will provide a reliable source of income, increase rural employment, bio-diversity and public engagement with the landscape.
The green burial project aims to provide a peaceful resting place for people seeking a non-denominational, environmentally-friendly alternative to the UK's increasingly over-subscribed cemeteries. A series of green spaces will be created adjacent to the site's existing woodland, where people can be laid to rest in caskets made of cardboard or willow, or their ashes scattered. Traditional memorial stones will not be erected, with friends and relatives encouraged to plant trees by way of commemorating their loved ones' passing.
The ambition is to create a reception building of architectural distinction whose main gathering space will be capable of accommodating commemorative services of varying sizes within a welcoming celebratory environment, together with the provision of associated catering facilities and administrative offices. A total project budget of GBP £600,000 is currently being considered and wherever practicable, there will be a preference to source materials locally and/or from the Spernal Estate's existing resources.
The competition is open to practising, registered architects based in the UK and Europe. Expressions of Interest are sought at Stage 1, together with an A3 sheet outlining preliminary ideas and approach to site/context. Up to four teams will be shortlisted to Stage 2, which will involve more detailed design development and a presentation to the Judging Panel at final interview. Each shortlisted team will receive an honorarium of £4,000 (+VAT) which will be paid following submission and presentation of Stage 2 design proposals at final interview.
Please visit www.architecture.com/competitions for details of how to register for the competition and to download a Preliminary Briefing Paper. Please note that registrations will close on Thursday 15 November 2012, and the deadline for Expressions of Interest is 2pm on Tuesday 20 November 2012.