Friday, January 8, 2010 - 11:33

A nationwide architectural competition is being launched to design a new generation of sustainable low carbon homes for the proposed Eco-town in Cornwall.

Promoter Orascom Development and its joint venture partners, global industrial minerals company Imerys and the Eden Project, are challenging the UK’s finest architects to come forward with innovative designs for the first phase of the development.

The project is one of only four schemes nationally, and the only one promoted by the private sector, to be awarded ‘Eco-town’ status by the UK Government earlier this year.

It will see the transformation of six former industrial china clay mining sites owned by Imerys in Mid Cornwall to provide more than 5,000 homes, employment opportunities and green space for the new and existing communities.

The development partners are progressing designs for the pilot phase of the Eco-town which will consist of 50 homes and supporting facilities at the Baal & West Carclaze site, just outside the coastal market town of St Austell.

The architectural competition starts on January 8 2010 and will involve a three-stage selection process, with final judging expected to take place in the early summer.

John Hodkin, project director for the development partners, said: “Right from the outset this project has been about creating something special. That is why we are looking for the best architects in the country to come forward with designs worthy of being included in the Eco-town and which will set it apart from other developments.

“Being one of the pioneering schemes in the UK, the challenge for us is to aim high in terms of sustainability, innovation and quality to deliver a solution which demonstrates the practicalities of developing in a sustainable and low carbon manner.

“A judging panel will be appointed including representatives from the development partners, Cornwall Council and the RIBA.”