the Oval partnership

the Oval partnership

London, GB

Proposed new public works buildings
Proposed new public works buildings
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Winner - Tristan da Cunha RIBA International Competition

Oval Partnership in partnership with Brock Carmichael Architects and Arup International Development have won this RIBA international competition to devise sustainable strategies for this uniquely situated community.

Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited Island in the world, with a population of around 270 people. It is a volcanic archipelago in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.

It has no airport and limited harbour facilities. The island can only be reached by a 7 day voyage on a commercial ship that sets out from Cape Town 8 times a year. Internet and email is also limited.

The island experiences regular hurricane force winds and high seas that often prevent disembarkation and unloading. Local material resources are also limited to basaltic rock, beach sand and seaweed.

Proposals include externally insulating homes and measures to reduce dampness thereby improving people’s quality of life. Proposed new buildings would utilise the same enveloping system. Sustainable technologies and social enterprise based businesses were also proposed to enable the community of Tristan da Cunha to become self-sufficient over a period of time.

New facilities included the replacement of existing public works buildings as well as the establishment of a knowledge centre for the development of agriculture and new building techniques. The new buildings, which would be grouped to form a courtyard in the manner of northern european farm buildings, provides space for the departments of agriculture & fisheries, engineering, conservation, finance and communications

The team included environmental psychologist Dr G Speller of the University of Surrey, who proposed nine fundamental principles of active community participation that would safeguard the unique island culture during a period of transition.

The team are fully committed to this long term project and look forward to building long-lasting relationships with the community. The first step is for members of the team to visit Tristan for a 3month period in early 2017 to gain a greater understanding of the island, its buildings and culture and to engage with the community to turn the concept ideas into practical proposals to take forward.

A key aspect is the gradual improvement of current building technologies and logistics and the optimisation of imported goods. The transfer of knowledge within the community is fundamental to social sustainability.

The ultimate aim is to increase people’s capabilities as the source for sustainable living and the realisation of a Tristan vernacular

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Tristan da Cunha
Firm Role: Joint Architect
Additional Credits: Brock Carmichael Architects, Liverpool; Arup International Development; Dr Gerda Speller, Surrey University; Multi-QS, Cape Town.

Aerial view as proposed
Aerial view as proposed
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas