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RIAS launches 'The Kelpies' design competition

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[Statements should be received by 5 December 2011] The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland has launched a two-stage contest to design the interior of a horse head sculpture and a nearby visitor hub

Architect-led teams are sought to design the internal space within one of a pair of large horse head sculptures which are being built near Edinburgh.

Designs are also sought for a visitor hub building which will house shops and offices nearby.

The structure is known as ‘The Kelpies’ after mythical water horses once thought to inhabit Scotland’s Lochs.

The 35 and 26 metre-tall sculptures by artist Andy Scott are the centrepiece of a £49 million, 300 hectare park and visitor attraction development backed by the Helix Project.

The competition focuses on the smaller Kelpie which is 26 metres tall and has a 100m² internal area. The budget for the internal works is £475,000 and the visitor hub has a total budget of £595,000.

The sculptures will stand at the lock entrance to a canal which runs through Scotland from the Clyde. The Kelpies are designed to slowly rock back and forth pumping water into the lock and raising boats.


In the competition’s first stage teams are requested to submit a 400 word statement outlining why they should be shortlisted.

Five teams will then be chosen to submit proposals for the project. Honorariums of £1,000 will be paid to each shortlisted entrant.

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