The RIBA has launched a contest to transform a 24ha business park in Runcorn into a ‘sustainable, multi-use and carbon-free’ environment
The ‘Vision of Future Living’ competition seeks innovative proposals to regenerate the enormous Heath Business and Technical Park which was constructed as a headquarters for Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in the 1960s and is now home to around 120 companies.
The call for concepts is open to architects and students and is backed by landowner Site Operations Group (SOG). It is divided into two phases with the first inviting broad conceptual visions for how future workplaces, living spaces and external spaces could promote happiness and reduce poverty and loneliness. The second phase will seek specific proposals for the site with some office buildings enhanced and others demolished to make way for new uses.
SOG managing director John Lewis said: ‘With the RIBA’s help I am challenging forward thinkers to design a vision of future living that may help us to determine how best to rejuvenate our site at The Heath Business and Technical Park.
‘We need to protect our planet for future generations and respond to a global technological explosion which will change the way we live and work. Now is the perfect time for us to reinvent this site into a location that rises to the challenges of the future and sets the standards for how we should be living and working in decades to come.’
Runcorn is an industrial town around 20km south-east of Liverpool. The area was designated a new town in the 1960s and underwent massive investment including the construction of the James Stirling-designed Southgate Estate which was demolished in the 1990s. ICI was a major local employer prior to the company’s sale and restructuring 11 years ago.
The ‘Vision of Future Living’ aims to identify an ambitious regeneration approach for the former ICI headquarters which is now home to around 2,000 employees working for 120 businesses. Phase one submissions should include two A3 display boards outlining ideas for futuristic living and working.
A longlist of 12 teams will be invited to present their schemes to the jury, and three shortlisted teams will then each receive £5,000 to proceed to the site-specific second round of the contest.
Judges will include Lewis; Rachel Cooper, distinguished professor of design management and policy at Lancaster University; Terry Rogan of Cheshire-based Terry Rogan Architect; and Hugh Broughton of Hugh Broughton Architects who will be acting as RIBA adviser.
Broughton said: ‘The regeneration of The Heath bears testament to what can be achieved when people are a project’s number one priority. This competition will build upon the exemplary work of SOG in Runcorn which has preserved jobs and protected the interests of the local community.
‘We hope that designers from around the world will respond with their vision for a brighter future which will enhance well-being, preserve the environment and harnesses technology for the good of us all.’
The overall winner, to be announced in June next year, will receive a £20,000 prize. Registration for the contest costs £30+VAT. The deadline for applications is 2pm, 11 February.
How to apply
No 1 Aire Street
Tel: 0113 203 1490