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Brock Carmichael wins civic contest for world’s remotest island community

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Brock Carmichael Architects has won an RIBA-organised competition to overhaul government buildings on the remote Island of Tristan da Cunha

The Liverpool-based studio defeated rival bids from Scott Brownrigg and Toronto’s Lateral Office to win the contest organised on behalf of the British overseas territory’s government.

The full shortlist

  • Brock Carmichael Architects - Liverpool, UK
  • Lateral Office - Toronto, Canada
  • John Puttick Associates - New York, USA
  • Scott Brownrigg - Cardiff, UK
  • Javier Terrados and Fernando Suárez - Seville, Spain

Brock Carmichael Architects’ winning design will create a new ‘innovative and cost-effective’ home for Tristan’s main civic buildings. Launched in March, the project aims create a ‘more self-sustainable future’ for the 270-strong island community which is also known as Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.

‘Innovative and cost-effective’ proposals were sought to overhaul existing community infrastructure on the island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Initiatives to improve living standards, residential properties and agrarian systems were also required.

A total of 37 entries were received to the contest which featured Tristan da Cunha head of government Alex Mitham and John Whiles of Jestico + Whiles on its judging panel.

Mitham commented: ‘The Island Council felt Brock Carmichael had developed a very strong set of proposals that demonstrated both a practical approach and an in-depth understanding of the issues.

‘We hope to be able to arrange for key members of the Brock Carmichael team to visit Tristan and meet the community in the near future as the first step in hopefully going onto realise the project.’

Whiles added: ‘This has been a complex and intriguing process with a far broader remit than normally experienced in architectural competitions. The wide ranging international response brought a new dimension to the assessment of the submissions that I believe has served the Tristan community well.’

‘The result of this competition could have a significant impact on the Islander’s lives, fitting for the future indeed.’

Studio partner Martin Watson said: ‘We are delighted and honoured to have been chosen as the winners of this unique competition and would like to pass on our thanks to the people of Tristan for selecting our team. We are very much looking forward to forging a long-term partnership with the community to deliver practical solutions for the benefit of future generations to come.’

Located around 2,800km south-west of Cape Town, Tristan is thought to be the remotest inhabited island in the word.

Along with nearby Nightingale, Inaccessible and Gough – Tristan is part of a grouping of islands known as Tristan da Cunha.

The settlement is only accessible by sea around 60 days each year due to its limited harbour and the severity of the ocean swells.

Earlier this year Hugh Broughton Architects with Galliford Try won a separate competition to redevelop the island’s existing hospital with an innovative 994m2 ‘kit-of-parts’ structure.

Hugh Broughton Architects, which collaborated with Galliford Try on the Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, will be using similar prefabrication techniques to build the flat-pack health centre which is due to complete next year.






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