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Hodder drives off with £23 million Mercedes prize

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Hodder Associates has scooped a commission to design a brand centre for car giant DaimlerChrysler. The £23 million building will be for the manufacturer's Mercedes-Benz brand and is one of only five that will be built around the world. So far, only UK and US centres have been confirmed.

A local firm will work in collaboration with the car company's own Stuttgart-based architects' department on each project.

Stephen Hodder told the AJ: 'We expect to receive our letter of appointment this week. It's a huge project for us.At the moment, there are some basic concept designs.We will work these up with the guys in Stuttgart. The brief calls for a landmark structure that will contain extensive exhibition space.'

A site for the scheme has not been finalised, although the Brooklands Motor Speedway in Weybridge is in pole position. The 30ha site is currently the location of a landscaping masterplan by Derek Lovejoy Partnership. This has not been submitted for planning yet but it is understood that there is an option to include the centre within the design.

However, problems are foreseen due to the site's historic links. It was the world's first purpose-built racetrack and the location of land speed records by Sir Malcolm Campbell. Planning difficulties are expected as part of the site is Grade II-listed and an area extends into green belt land.

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