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New York practices take over from Wilford and Dyson in Africa

A scheme designed by two up-and-coming New York practices has won the international competition to replace Michael Wilford and Chris Dyson's doomed Museum of Africa project (above).

Brooklyn-based office Thread Collective, in collaboration with Normaldesign, saw off an incredible 1,300 entries to win the high-profile Southbank architectural contest in South Africa.

The design team will now be asked to mastermind an unusual 100ha development on the wine-growing estate in Lynedoch Valley, Stellenbosch, combining new homes with large-scale 'facilities for artistic production and performance.'

The competition was launched last summer after Wilford and Dyson's extraordinary £47 million museum and cultural village project was unexpectedly dropped by landowner Spier Holdings (AJ 01.06.06).

An exact explanation for the company's change of heart was never made clear; however, sources at Spier Holdings blamed a 'very long list' of reasons.

The subsequent contest attracted interest from around the world - including 56 British architects - although no UK-based practices made it into the final six.

Adrian Enthoven, chief executive of Spier Holdings, admitted the overwhelming response to the brief was a surprise. He said: 'The Southbank architectural competition has been one of the most challenging and exciting global design competitions ever to be launched on the African continent.'

The winning team - which landed US$75,000 (£38,000) prize money - worked with a local South African architectural practice to qualify for the second phase of the competition.

Future timescales for the project are not yet known.

by Richard Waite

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