UK architect to redesign world’s most remote inhabited island

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced that a team led by UK firm Brock Carmichael Architects has won the Tristan da Cunha Design Ideas Competition. 

The competition was run by RIBA on behalf of the government of Tristan da Cunha, the world’s most remote inhabited island group, located 2,400km from South Africa in the south Atlantic.

The competition sought ideas to create a more self-sustainable future for Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, the main settlement on the islands.

The brief was to improve the standard of residential properties and to improve the island’s agrarian systems to better support grazing and the year-round growth of produce.

Brock Carmichael will work with Oval Partnership, Arup International Development, Multi QS and Gerda Speller from the University of Surrey.

The team were selected from a shortlist that included:

  • Lateral Office (Toronto)
  • John Puttick Associates (New York)
  • Scott Brownrigg (Cardiff)
  • Javier Terrados and Fernando Suárez (Seville).

Alex Mitham, the head of government at Tristan da Cunha, said: "The Tristanians are very grateful for all the hard work involved and the different ways in which teams responded to the brief and the unique set of challenges posed by delivering a project on the world’s remotest inhabited island. 

"The Island Council felt the Brock Carmichael team had developed a very strong set of proposals that demonstrated both a practical approach and an in-depth understanding of the issues.  

"We hope to be able to arrange for key members of the Brock Carmichael team to visit Tristan and meet the community in the near future as the first step in hopefully going onto realise the project".

This will require the architects to sail for up to 10 days from Cape Town. The islands are only accessible by sea on 60 days a year owing to the severity of the ocean swells and the limitations their harbour facilities.

Martin Watson, partner at Brock Carmichael, said: "We’re delighted and honoured to have been chosen as the winners of this unique competition and would like to pass on our thanks to the people of Tristan for selecting our team. 

"We’re very much looking forward to forging a long-term partnership with the community to deliver practical solutions for the benefit of future generations to come."

Tristan da Cunha is formed of four islands, one of which is called, aptly enough, "Inaccessible".

Read more about the competition and the island here.

Images via RIBA

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