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Great Fen Visitor Centre

Design Ideas Competition: registrations close on Wednesday 19 December 2012, and the deadline for Stage 1 design submissions is 2pm on Thursday 10 January 2013

RIBA Competitions is running 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).

Register for the competition.

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