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Wed February 28 2024

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RIBA launches design competition to help remote island

25 Mar 15 RIBA Competitions has launched a ideas competition on behalf of the government of Tristan da Cunha, which is seeking to create a better future for the 270 people living in Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.

Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic is the remotest inhabited island in the world. It lies 1,750 miles  - seven to ten days sailing - south-west of Cape Town and life there is ruled largely by the weather. The island is only accessible by sea approximately 60 days a 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, which 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 nine scientists live for a year at a time.  Tristan is the only island with a permanent community, known as Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.

The competition is seeking innovative, cost-effective approaches for the redesign and consolidation of Tristan’s community buildings and initiatives to 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.

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 with the winner to receive an additional £2,000.

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“As the community nears its 200th Anniversary, it is a perfect time to not only reflect on the past, but also look to the future and ensure the community's viability for generations to come,” said Tristan da Cunha administrator and head of government HH Alex Mitham. “I believe that a competition such as this offers the community that chance to thrive. We live in a time when you can step on a plane and be almost anywhere in the world within 24 hours.  However Tristan is truly unique, and offers a fantastic opportunity for designers from around the world to have a beneficial impact on how Tristanian’s live and work for years to come.”

RIBA architect adviser John Whiles of Jestico + Whiles added:  “This is an intriguing competition to create the very best holistic solutions for the diverse needs of this Community, who are committed to advancing their lives, their skills and their future in an absolutely sustainable way.”

Details from (link opens in new tab).

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