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UK again shuns Europan, world’s largest design competition for young stars

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The UK has yet again failed to offer up a single site for inclusion in Europan, the world’s largest design competition for emerging architects

It has been almost a decade since the UK last submitted a site for the biennial European-wide contest, which is open to young architects aged 40 or under.

Traditionally focused on large-scale housing projects, the latest competition is themed on how cities can integrate ‘production’ and small-scale uban manufacturing. About 20 countries will be launching competition plots when Europan 14 opens next month.

The UK last submitted sites in 2008 for Europan 9.

A spokesman for the competition said: ‘We were in discussion for a site in the UK, but unfortunately we did not have enough time. [We] will definitely try to have the UK back on the Europan track for Europan 15.’

Traditionally sites have been offered by local authorities and other public bodies. From 2004, CABE facilitated the competition in the UK but dropped its support in 2010.

Commenting on the news, Russell Curtis of RCKa – which won an award with its Stoke-on-Trent site in Europan 9 in 2008 (pictured below) – said: ‘In the current climate it would take a brave public client to embrace the lofty ideals of Europan at the very point at which we’re turning our back on the Continent.

‘But an apparent near-miss this year at least inspires hope that, with enlightened local authorities beginning to emerge around the country, it won’t be too long before we once again see Europan returning to the UK.’

RCKa_Stoke_Visual.jpg

Despite not putting forward any sites in the UK, architects from this country can submit proposals next month for other Europan contests at sites elsewhere in Europe.

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