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Finalists named in Acle Bridge visitor centre contest


Mole Architects, Feilden + Mawson and emerging London firm Mills Power Architecture have been shortlisted to design a £750,000 visitor centre for the Broads Authority at Acle Bridge, Norfolk

The three practices were chosen from 95 entries into the anonymous design competition for a landmark structure for visitors to the 303km² Broads National Park, Britain’s largest protected wetland.

The winning scheme will sit on a 1.1ha riverfront plot next to the River Bure, transforming the site into a major new tourist destination featuring educational displays and views over the surrounding natural landscape.

The site, next to the A1064, currently features a shop, car parking, private and public moorings and an out-of-use public toilet.

According to the brief, the new building will ‘harness innovative construction techniques’ and feature multipurpose education spaces along with a café and toilets, a cycle hire centre and facilities for boaters.

Acle Bridge, Norfolk

Acle Bridge, Norfolk

Acle Bridge, Norfolk

John Last, vice-chancellor of the Norwich University of the Arts and chair of the Acle Bridge design competition panel, said: ‘[We] felt that each of these three had real potential to achieve a sustainable environmentally sensitive intervention into the landscape reflecting the values of the Broads Authority, while offering innovative design solutions and creating a potential landmark building, sensitive to its local environment.

’The three shortlisted practices each have different strengths and we now look forward to the presentations from these practices to consider in greater detail the design and the ways that it can be realised with strong value for money, environmental awareness and design innovation.’

The shortlist

  • Acle Bridge National Park & Education Centre Feilden + Mawson (Norwich)
  • The Large White Mole Architects (Cambridge)
  • The Periscope Mills Power Architecture (London)

The three firms will each be given £1,000 to work up their final design. The winner will be announced on 27 July at the Broads Authority Meeting.

Acle bridge judging172

Acle bridge judging172

Acle bridge judging


Readers' comments (4)

  • "The three firms will each be given £1,000 to work up their final design. The winner will be announced on 27 July at the Broads Authority Meeting"

    Massive exploitation, I don't understand why any architect would devalue the entire profession for this pittance! Its a disgrace.

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  • www.alstonarchitects.co.uk

    What a joke this short list is, the brief was to design a landmark building that could be realised for £750k. These concepts are just ridiculously out of touch with the reality of the brief and current build costs.

    Great to see practices with 68 members entering a competition that was aimed at bringing the next generation through. "we hope that this will be seen a potential springboard for newly qualified smaller and emerging practices".

    One of the designs looks like it fell straight of the page from seven oaks competition shortlist and is not even within the site boundary.

    The RIBA needs to have a good hard look at itself and what it condones for its competitions and stop wasting peoples time with incompetent judging panels and meaningless briefs.

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  • Interesting how the Broads authority would oppose any private building looking like this any where in or near the Broads Authority (objecting to change in windows is their very common objection), but they think they can stick a highly modern building up in a visible place. these look very expensive and intrusive designs that would harm the sensitive habitat and ecosystems. I think a case of pressing render before thinking?

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  • What we need is some form of code of conduct for competitions - but obviously the RIBA is not the place to look for such ethical direction...

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