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Students asked to show their wares

Budding architects are being invited to take part in a new competition to give the muchmaligned retail warehouse unit a complete facelift.

The challenge is to design a new large-format B&Q retail outlet on a brownfield site. As well as being customer-friendly and pleasing on the eye, the judges are looking for designs to minimise air leakage and achieve outstanding energy efficiency.

The competition, sponsored by The Architects' Journal, B&Q, CA Building Products, Corus and Brett Martin, is open to students at UK architecture schools.

Entries will be accepted from this autumn and the closing date is March 2005. Designs will be judged by a panel of architects and sponsors.

The winning design and other notable entries will be featured in the AJ and exhibited in London and other parts of the UK.

AJ group editorial director Paul Finch believes the competition will act as a spur for tomorrow's army of architects.

'It will produce high-quality buildings and environments, rather than mediocre settings for retail, ' he said.

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