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CABE and DfEE push good quality design for childcare. . .

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The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment has teamed up with central government to launch a competition for the design of childcare centres in deprived areas. The commission hopes to attract 'leading architects' to its neighbourhood nurseries programme, which it announces this Friday.

'We want to engage leading architects and designers in thinking about how to create high quality places and spaces for children and carers, ' CABE chief executive Jon Rouse told the AJ.

The commission is working with the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) to identify areas most in need of childcare centres, narrowing the current field of nine locations down to three - representing a new build, a refurbishment and an extension.

'The DfEE, with assistance from CABE, is promoting this competition to raise the importance of design quality in childcare facilities, and to engage the interest of service providers, architects and others who will be involved in delivering neighbourhood nurseries, ' said Rouse.

Entries must be architect-led and teams should include landscape architects, structural engineers and cost consultants. Experts in design development such as early-years specialists and furniture designers are expected to be included in teams.

The programme's objectives are to help improve the lives of children and parents; to help children develop in their early years; and to provide parents with practical support, enabling them to take up employment opportunities.

Three teams will be rewarded with cash prizes for the best concept for each of the three sites and it is intended to retain them to take forward their designs.

Expressions of interest must be submitted by 14 May; interviews will be conducted in late May.

The shortlist of nine teams will be announced by the end of July. The competition brief will be available at www. cabe. org. uk

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