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Waterside concert hall success in Norway for home practice

Stavanger, Norway's fourth-largest city, is set to gain a new international-calibre concert hall, following an open competition. From the Europe-wide entries, Oslo-based practice Medplan Arkitekter won first prize, with Edinburgh-based practice Allan Murray Architects coming in second.

The relationship between the building and its waterside context was key in the jury's deliberations. Over 100 entries were received and considered anonymously.

The challenge was to design a new concert hall for the city, on Norway's south-west coast, with two international-standard auditoria - one orchestral and one electro-acoustic.Medplan Arkitekter's winning proposal - netting the first prize of NOK1,500,000 (£120,315) - is called 'I Boks', meaning 'all ready'. The judges said the design (above) 'combines magnificent and simple location on the site with a functional and well-planned layout. The architecture is both imaginative and brave, and excellently situated in the city landscape.'

Allan Murray Architects has picked up NOK500,000 (£40,101) for its proposal 'Aurora', conceived as 'a compact solid block fractured and carved responding to the rugged exposure of the land and sea'. The openings follow the major sight-lines to the south and east.

Judges said Allan Murray's project 'contains some of the competition's best solutions for concert halls, public areas and behind-stage functions. In addition, the proposal is architecturally exciting.' But it failed to win first prize due to the disappointing external spaces.

Third prizes went to two Norwegian submissions: 'Bach'n Beat' by 4B Arkitekter and '440 Hz' by Lund Hagem Arkitekter.

UK practice MacCormac Jamieson Pritchard also entered, with 'Duett', a harmonious composition of rocks, ships, ramps, cave, pool, garden, strata, rig and shell, each representing a facet of the city's life and history. The auditoria resemble two rocks emerging out of the strata, around which flow water, landscape, light and people.

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