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Designs sought for observatory on Indian Ocean island

An unusual competition has been launched to design an atmospheric observation station on the island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean (pictured).

The contest to come up with plans for the scientific outpost is expected to attract even more entries than the hugely popular Kielder Observatory competition, which brought in a huge number of bids from practices around the world.

The volcanic island of La Réunion is an overseas départment of France, which means it is run as part of mainland France and is technically part of the EU, despite its location 200km south-west of Mauritius.

The organisers of the competition, the island's regional authority, are looking to build a 527m2 building on a tricky 2,150m-high site.

Architects will also have to design a new entrance building further down the glacier - a structure which is expected to cost 1.1 million euros (£700,000) of the project's overall 3.8 million euros (£2.5 million) budget.

A shortlist of three practices is expected to be named before a finalist is eventually chosen.

For more details about the contest visit www.ted.europa.eu (reference TED-2007-38636-FR).

by Richard Waite

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