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Mortar bang for your buck

Read the word ‘architecture’ in connection with big bucks and IT, and the cynic immediately thinks software architecture, not the real thing. But in the case of a new US competition co-sponsored by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), it really is bricks and mortar that is attracting the money. Billed as ‘architecture’s largest prize’, the Open Architecture Prize, also backed by Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity, is worth $250,000. It will fund an annual award for a low-cost sustainable design, and runs alongside AMD’s 50 x 15 Initiative, which aims to connect 50 per cent of the world’s population to the internet by 2015. First off is a competition to design an ‘e-community centre’. All very worthy, and well-worth entering. But anybody who thinks they will get rich quick out of serving the poor should note that the money is to be spread over several years, and will include the cost of building. See www.50x15.com

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