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Architects get set for battle in pursuit of new NATO HQ

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NATO has launched a big-money international competition to find an architect for a new headquarters complex in Brussels. The military alliance is offering a first prize of £130,000, as well as several runner-up prizes worth at least £60,000 each.

It wants designs which are 'austere yet functional and reflect the new face of the alliance as a transparent, outward-looking organisation', said NATO secretary general George Robertson.

Stirling Prize winner and AJ columnist Will Alsop will sit on the jury alongside architects from France, Japan, Germany Canada and NATO's biggest financial backer, the US. Practices from each of the alliance's 19 member states can apply, but the competition conditions mean they must form teams with other consultants to design and oversee construction of all elements of the scheme, from start to finish.

The complex will include 172,000m2 of accommodation, including a large conference centre, other buildings housing different departments and leisure facilities for the staff. The deadline for pre-selection applications is 28 February. A winner will not be selected until April 2002.

More competition details can be found at www.nato.int/structur/tenders/newhq

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