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Nuclear power station contest winners announced – after project is axed

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Reiach and Hall Architects and K2 Architects have been named winners of the RIBA’s Moorside contest to provide a visitor centre and workers accommodation for the Cumbrian nuclear power station that was cancelled earlier this month

The contest, launched by the RIBA almost three years ago, sought proposals for the 200ha site’s visitor centre and for a workers’ accommodation campus nearby.

On Monday (19 November) NuGen finally announced Reiach and Hall Architects had won the contest for the workers’ accommodation campus while K2 Architects had been chosen for the visitor centre. Neither project will go-ahead.

A shortlist was revealed in May 2016 but the announcement of winners was postponed. Last year the troubled £10 billion project was placed under review after joint-funder ENGIE withdrew and the reactor manufacturer Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy.

Earlier this month, the project’s sole remaining backer Toshiba announced it had failed to bring its preferred bidder Korea Electric Power Corporation on board and would be winding up its subsidiary NuGen, which had been tasked with delivering the ambitious scheme.

In a statement, NuGen said: ‘Though prizes for the competition itself have been awarded, NuGen had hoped to be able to announce the intention to work with winning entrants, regrettably though as NuGen is the process of being wound up, there will not be the opportunity.

‘NuGen thanks all entrants to the competitions and wishes them the best of success in their future projects.’

Other shortlisted teams included FaulknerBrowns, Graeme Massie Architects, William Matthews Associates and CF Architects.

The 3.6GW triple-reactor, designed by Scott Brownrigg, would have produced almost seven per cent of the UK’s total electricity needs.

About 4,000 new homes, a railway station, health centre and other amenities were also planned to cater for the plant’s workforce.

A separate competition, organised by the Landscape Institute, was also launched in January 2016 to find ‘creative and sustainable’ proposals for the facility’s surroundings but no winner has been announced.

HEPLA with HarrisonStevens has been named winner for its Sleeping Beauty landscaping concept for the north of the Moorside site. On the shortlist were: Iteriad with Stephenson Halliday and Charles and Lily Jencks; AECOM; One Creative Environments; and Estell Warren.

The two competitions together had a £20,000 prize fund, with the winning architect and landscape architect receiving £5,000 each and a chance to bid for work on the scheme.

Reiach and Hall confirmed to the AJ that they had been paid the honorarium. Practice director Jim Grimley added: ’During our tenure on the project we enjoyed working with the team at Nugen to develop proposals, both for the workers accommodation and for the support and services buildings at the new power station.

It is saddening that we won’t get to further develop the scheme with Nugen

’It is saddening that we won’t get to further develop the scheme with Nugen, to use this knowledge and experience to take these proposals forward. We hope to pick this up with another energy provider for the project once its new delivery company is established.’

Judges in the RIBA contest included Terry Farrell, Simon Hudspith of Panter Hudspith Architects and former Lake District National Park Authority chief executive Paul Tiplady. 

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