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Dixon Jones scoops Magna Carta project at Salisbury

Jeremy Dixon.Edward Jones has edged out John Pawson and Peter Zumthor in the troubled competition to build a new home for the Magna Carta at Salisbury Cathedral.

The selection of the practice on the £8 million project marks the end to a process which has seen cathedral authorities enrage the profession by rejecting all seven entries in a previous Official Journal competition, including designs by Studio Libeskind, David Chipperfield Architects and Allies & Morrison (AJ 26.6.00). At the time, it was estimated that around £150,000 of design work had been wasted.

The second competition was managed independently of the Official Journal and the dean of the cathedral approached architects directly instead.

Zumthor withdrew before a decision was made.

'It is very difficult to say what the problem was and I don't think I have any easy answers, ' said cathedral dean, Derek Watson.

'All I would say is that we were very grateful for their [the rejected architects'] efforts. I was advised that because we had gone through the Official Journal we wouldn't have to again.'

Partner Jeremy Dixon said: 'The outcome of the previous competition was that none of the entries were quite what they wanted, so there was no reason for them not to have another go at it. It was not like Zaha Hadid in Cardiff where one entry stood out. Here, none fitted an extremely delicate surrounding. In fact, they are entering quite dangerous territory by doing a building at all, because Salisbury is a very sensitive place.'

The scheme will provide a home for the Magna Carta and help to accommodate the crowds of visitors to the cathedral. However, funding has yet to be secured and Dixon said that designs remained at an embryonic stage.

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