Sheffield-based practice Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson is the surprise name on the shortlist to design the new media centre at the heart of London 2012 Olympic Games
Part of the Rosemound/Norwest Holst development consortium, the firm has been named among the four finalists vying to land the prestige project - officially dubbed the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre (IBC/MPC).
The others are BDP with Babcock & Brown and Balfour Beatty; Hopkins Architects with Bouyges and Development Securities; and Allies and Morrison with developers Carillion and Igloo.
Surprisingly there is no room for Foster & Partners, despite the firm being hotly tipped by some observers to scoop the scheme.
During the Games the 120,000m2
centre will provide round-the-clock facilities for 20,000 international and domestic broadcasters, wire services, print journalists and photographers.
After the Olympics the buildings will be converted and, according to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), 'will offer a significant business opportunity for users, investors, developers and other organisations'.
ODA chief executive David Higgins said: 'The broadcast and press centre will deliver world-class facilities for the world's media during the Games and will create massive local business and employment opportunities in legacy, so today's announcement of a shortlist of such capable candidates is good news for the Games and good news for east London.'
The ODA has already advertised for contractors to build the new velopark - even though the winner of the design contest has not yet been announced.
Responding to the unexpected move, one competitor said he thought the decision showed the ODA was being 'suitably proactive.'by Richard Waite