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Competition: Financial Services Commission Building, Montserrat

Montserrat’s Financial Services Commission is seeking an architect for its new £1.3 million headquarters in Little Bay (Deadline: 9 January)

The winning team will create a new base for the organisation, responsible for regulating and supervising financial service providers on the small Caribbean island which became a British colony in the early 17th century and remains a British Overseas Territory.

The 800m² project is for an undeveloped plot in Little Bay (pictured) which has been earmarked as the island’s future capital following the destruction of Plymouth by the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano in 1997. New premises for the Office of the Auditor General and Financial Crime and Analysis Unit will also feature in the development.

Little Bay, Montserrat

Little Bay, Montserrat

Source: Image by David Stanley

Little Bay, Montserrat

In its brief, the commission says it is ‘inviting prospective architects to submit design and financial proposals for the opportunity to design a “modern, state-of-the-art building” and prepare the construction documents for a three-storey structure in Little Bay Montserrat …

‘The architect who is adjudged to have delivered the most advantageous and creative solutions that satisfies the criteria outlined in this document will be invited to execute a contract to produce the full construction documents based on the conceptual design with modifications if necessary as directed by the project manager at no additional cost to the Financial Services Commission and provide the technical inspection services for the construction of the building by the contractor.’

Montserrat is a small Caribbean island measuring around 16km long and 11km wide which is home to just under 5,000 residents. The 102 km2 landmass was colonised by Irish settlers in the early 17th century and is now an internally self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom.

Little Bay, Montserrat

Little Bay, Montserrat

Source: Image by Invertzoo

Little Bay, Montserrat

The eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano in 1997 saw large areas of the island, including its former capital Plymouth, abandoned and thousands of residents evacuated to the United Kingdom. The population has since recovered but a significant part of the island remains closed due to concerns over volcanic activity.

Interested teams should submit floor plans, sections, elevations, external concept sketches and internal concept sketches along with any other drawings needed to illustrate their proposal. Applications must be in English.

Applicants must have professional indemnity insurance of at least £280,000. Submissions will be judged 45 per cent on design quality, 25 per cent on team experience, and 30 per cent on cost.

The winning team will be expected to include architectural, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, quantity surveying, and technical inspection services.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is midday local time on 9 January

Contact details

Dulcie James
Commissioner
Financial Services Commission
Valley View Building
P.O. Box 188
Brades
MSR1110
Montserrat
West Indies

Email: fsccomr@candw.ms 

View the contract notice for more information

Tristan da Cunha case study: Q&A with Chris Bolland

The managing partner at Brock Carmichael discusses lessons learned designing a competition-winning civic centre for the remote island of Tristan da Cunha

Chris Bolland

Chris Bolland

Chris Bolland

How did you approach designing a new government complex for the remote island of Tristan de Cunha?

Our approach was based on the notion of construction as a social process and the source of sustainable living having to be in the capabilities of the community. Our solution involved a combination of continually improving the island’s existing building technology as well the partial prefabrication of key elements that can be manufactured, in suitable materials for this challenging environment, off-island and assembled in a community factory on the island. (With little available timber, the only locally sourced building materials consist of basaltic rock, beach sand and seaweed.)

Tristan da Cunha by Brock Carmichael

Tristan da Cunha by Brock Carmichael

Tristan da Cunha by Brock Carmichael

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The design featured proposals to reduce energy consumption, improve water management and achieve the island’s ambition to have at least 30-40% of its energy needs met by renewable means within the next five years. The proposal included the development of a bespoke enveloping system with low tech low energy environmental services to improve people’s homes and quality of life. The system will be implemented using a materials import & logistics strategy using BIM technology. This will optimise the shipping of goods, reduce waste in materials and transportation costs and ensure imported materials can be fully recycled or supplemented by a long-term maintenance plan. We also looked carefully at ‘principles of participation’ that will safeguard the island’s unique culture during this period of transition. This will ensure the community maintain control while providing positive interventions, learning, skills transfer and adaptations over time.

Tristan da Cunha by Brock Carmichael

Tristan da Cunha by Brock Carmichael

Tristan da Cunha by Brock Carmichael

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new Financial Services Commission HQ for Montserrat?

Take time to question and explore what is desired, needed and practical. Listen, listen and listen again, understand fully the environment and constraints for the proposed project. Spend time thinking how best to communicate effectively to what will be a complex, diverse decision grouping.

Tristan da Cunha by Brock Carmichael

Tristan da Cunha by Brock Carmichael

Tristan da Cunha by Brock Carmichael

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