The Visual and Infra-red Survey Telescope for Astronomy, or VISTA, is a UK funded four meter class wide-field infra-red and optical survey telescope to be situated in Chile. The telescope, which is regarded as a two-channel camera, was funded on the basis of having a one-degree, infra-red field at the Cassegrain focus and a two degree, optical field at prime focus. The re-use, development or sharing of existing telescope system designs will play a major role in the project and thus pose particular design challenges and trades. This paper briefly outlines the science specification and the functional requirements of the telescope/camera together with the initial technical concepts and options. The unique or interesting features of this type of system are also discussed. The newly appointed project office, its project organization and plan are briefly described. An integrated systems engineering approach to the project, which is being developed, is also outlined.