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Olympics bosses call for 'world's best architects' to design Athletes' Village

The consortium building the £2 billion Athletes' Village for the 2012 London Olympics has called on 'the world's most talented architects' to pitch for what is one of the Games' most high-profile contracts.

In March, Lend Lease and its partners First Base and East Thames Housing Group were selected by London & Continental Railways and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to build the non-retail elements of the £4 billion Stratford City development.

Now, in partnership with the Architecture Foundation (AF), the Lend Lease-led consortium has issued an international call for both 'established and emerging' architects to design the centrepiece of Stratford City - the 4,200-home Athletes' Village.

The AF will appoint 40 architects and practices to a panel. Those architects will then compete for commissions to design individual components of the huge village.

In a move that will be welcomed by up-and-coming practices, AF director Rowan Moore highlighted the need for new talents to throw their hats into the Olympic ring. He said: 'The Athletes' Village is a great opportunity for both emerging and established practices, and we will be seeking to achieve a balance between the two.

'In some cases this will involve a collaborative approach, with smaller practices working alongside larger firms. This will enable us to deliver opportunities for a diverse range of practices to demonstrate their talents,' added Moore.

Apparently aware of the growing controversy surrounding claims that the design of the Games is suffering due to mounting costs, the ODA appears keen to get the architectural community back on side.

An ODA spokesperson said: 'Commitment to design excellence is essential. Creating a panel of leading architects will ensure world-class design and innovation are at the heart of our plans as we develop landmark residential properties for the Games and in legacy.'

The project brief can be downloaded from www.villagearchitectspanel.com. Practices have until 28 June to respond, with finalists being revealed at the end of July.

by Max Thompson

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