Some of architecture’s biggest names, including Richard Meier and Rick Mather, are lining up to bid for a £27m steamboat museum on Lake Windermere

Charitable body the Lakeland Arts Trust said it had received about 100 submissions for its Rayrigg Bay project, which will house about 40 historic boats amassed by a private collector in the 20th century.

Richard Meier & Partners, a Pritzker prize-winning practice that has never built anything in the UK, and fellow American Rick Mather have both said they will bid for the scheme.

Other architects thought to be submitting include Daniel Libeskind and Irish firm Heneghan Peng while, closer to home, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Wilkinson Eyre, Taylor Young and Stephenson Bell are said to be interested.

Engineers planning to bid include Curtins Consulting, which has a Cumbrian presence.

Interest has exceeded expectations, but then it’s a dream location

Frances Snowden, Lakeland arts trust

Frances Snowden, development manager at Lakeland Arts Trust, would not confirm the list of names but said there had been a “fantastic response”. She said: “The interest has exceeded expectations, but then it’s difficult to know with this sort of project – it’s a dream location.”

Construction is due to start in 2012 and complete in 2013, but Snowden said the timetable could slip if the funds were not raised in time – the trust is applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund and approaching other donors.

She said: “It’s a project we’ll need to raise the money for. We’re not a developer standing here with the cash ready to go.”

The collection of steamboats, yachts and motorboats dates back to 1780 and includes SL Dolly, the oldest mechanically powered vessel in the world, which was salvaged from the bottom of Ullswater in 1962.