Architect needed for world's most remote island

A design competition is being staged in which the winner will work for the most remote settled island in the world

Tristan Island, in the south Atlantic.
Tristan Island, in the south Atlantic.

Architects looking to get away from it all can apply to work on a project quite literally in the middle of nowhere.

A design competition is being staged in which the winner will work for the most remote settled island in the world – around 1,600km from the nearest continental land mass.

RIBA launched the contest to create a self-sustainable future for those living on Tristan - part of the Tristan da Cunha group of islands. Located in the south Atlantic just 288 people live in the British territory.

Architects from around the world have been invited to pitch ideas to redesign the community’s buildings, improve living standards and farming operations, “to ensure the community’s viability for generations to come”.

It takes up to 10 days by sea to reach the island from Cape Town, But because of inadequate harbour facilities and the ocean swell, ships can dock on only 60 days a year.

Inhabitants are descendants of American, Dutch and Italian sailors, as well as British relatives of former members of the Royal Navy dating from the time of Lord Nelson. Only eight surnames exist among the islanders, who are British citizens, speak English and whose currency is the British pound.

Tristan’s government, led by Alex Mitham, called in RIBA to find architect to overhaul residential property as well as carry out urgent replacement of public buildings, currently little more than agricultural sheds.

“Tristan is truly unique, and offers a fantastic opportunity for designers from around the world to have a beneficial impact on how Tristanians live and work for years to come,” Mitham said.

Architects have two months to draw up designs and RIBA will choose a 20-strong longlist followed by a shortlist of five.

There will be no site visit ahead of the pitches because of the difficulty of reaching the island and no commitment to take the job.

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