Terry Farrell & Partners and Gensler and Associates were shortlisted this week to design a new base for spymaster gchq.
The £200 million design, to include housing and shops, will involve developing an existing site in Cheltenham or, in the case of Gensler's design (pictured), using a nearby site for its ring-planned building nicknamed the 'bagel' or 'millennium doughnut'. gchq is to choose one of three sites around Cheltenham later this year.
Gensler's bagel, for Tarmac and Group 4, includes a leisure centre, 1750 car-parking spaces and rings of trees circling out from the building. It will house 4000 staff from the government intelligence agency.
Farrell's design for a consortium led by amec is being kept under wraps. He is no stranger to the hush-hush world of espionage, having designed the prominent MI6 hq with beige cladding and spruce trees on London's River Thames.
The two teams were chosen from four consortia, which included Bovis with Arup Associates and John Mowlem & Co, which refused to name its designer.
gchq said that the final choice will be made no sooner than October and work would start around 2003.