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Ideas contest launched for iconic Thames sea defences

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An open international ideas competition has been launched to reinvent the ruined Red Sands sea fort in the Thames Estuary off the Kentish coast

The iconic structure – which was one of several offshore installations designed by Guy Maunsell during World War Two – has been unused since 1956.

Organised by Seville-based ‘Rethinking Architecture Competitions’ – the contest seeks proposals to transform the fort into a new observatory.

According to the brief: ‘Since these buildings are away from any town and in the middle of the sea it seems appropriate [to create] a place to study the stars.’

‘The isolation of these fortifications [will provide] perfect visibility of the night sky.’

Schemes must consider site accessibility and the potential for creating self-sufficient residences inside the fort.

The Red Sands base was constructed in 1943 and originally featured anti-aircraft batteries. The seven raised structures were originally connected by walkways which have not survived.

The first prize winner – set to be announced on 1 May – will receive around £2,300.

A second place prize of approximately £1,150 and third place award worth around £400 will also be available.

The deadline for entries is 30 March.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Julia Kashdan-Brown

    Observatory with sensitive telescope tracking equipment located on a vibrating platform on stilts in a moving sea, at low altitude with sea fogs, spray and a corrosive environment ! Don't want that in my portfolio.
    J K-B, Bath, England

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