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Tristan de Cunha Competition

RIBA Competitions has launched an international design ideas competition on behalf of the Government of Tristan da Cunha, which is seeking to create a more self-sustainable future for the Island community of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.

Situated within the South Atlantic Ocean, Tristan da Cunha is the remotest inhabited Island in the word.  The Island lays 1,750 miles (7 to 10 days sailing) south-west of Cape Town.  Life on Tristan is ruled largely by the weather, with the Island only being accessible by sea on approximately 60 days per year due to the severity of the ocean swells and limitations of the harbour facility.

Tristan da Cunha actually consists of four islands – Tristan (the main island), Nightingale and Inaccessible, which together form a group, and Gough Island that lies 220 miles to the south-east.  Inaccessible and Gough are both UNESCO World Heritage sites with Gough being home to a small meteorological station where up to 9 scientists live for a year at a time.  Tristan is the only island with a permanent community, known as Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, which has a population of around 270 people.

The competition is seeking innovative, cost-effective approaches for the re-design and consolidation of Tristan’s government (community infrastructure) buildings; initiatives to significantly improve the living standards and performance of residential properties; together with improvements to the Island’s agrarian systems to better support grazing and the year-round growth of fresh produce.  Many of the government buildings – which lean more towards agricultural sheds as opposed to the usual notion of a government edifice – are nearing the end of their useful life and need to be re-provided to meet the future means and needs of the community.

Design teams (to be led by a practising registered architect) from around the globe are invited to participate in this unique design competition which is seeking anonymous design approach proposals at the first phase.  Five concept designs will then be shortlisted for further development at the second phase.  Each short-listed design team will receive an honorarium of £3,000 (+ VAT) with the winner to receive an additional £2,000 (+VAT).

The Judging Panel includes HH Alex Mitham (Tristan da Cunha Administrator and Head of Government) and John Whiles (Jestico + Whiles) as the RIBA Architect Adviser.For further details and how to enter please visit

The closing date for receipt of Phase 1 submissions is 14.00hrs (BST) 02 June 2015.

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