Second phase of SOG's 'Vision of Future Living' competition for Heath Park will deliver a "new normal" for ethical inves
A new provisional timetable has been announced for the final stages of RIBA's 'Vision of Future Living' competition, sponsored by SOG Group, owner and operator of The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn.
Three designs teams were short-listed earlier this year for the final phase of the contest which has been disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The teams need to undertake fact-finding visits to The Heath to complete the process, but these plans were put on hold due to the Lockdown.
Now, with the agreement of the judging panel which includes high-profile architects and designers Paul Monaghan, Professor Rachel Cooper OBE and Hugh Broughton, and of course a hoped-for further easing of lockdown measures, the competition timeframe has been adjusted. Site visits to The Heath are now scheduled for week commencing July 20th with final submissions from the three finalists to be delivered by September 14th. The winning entry will be announced on October 5th.
Phase one of the competition sought non-site-specific conceptual ideas on the design of future workplaces, living spaces and external spaces and how they relate to one another. It attracted entries from around the world.
In March, just days before the Lockdown was introduced, SOG had unveiled its own Heath Park vision (pictured right) at a presentation to Merseyside business leaders and Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. The Mayor described SOGs proposal as one of the city regions Beacon Projects.
The RIBA competition has always been a critical part of the Heath Park strategy. SOG Managing Director John Lewis MBE says: I was impressed and encouraged by the response to Stage One of our competition, particularly with the calibre of the entries, and would like to thank everyone who entered for their time and hard work.
Mr Lewis adds: Ive often described SOG as a small family with a big house, with big ideas and a small budget. Our Heath Park project is a big idea to ensure the future of the Business and Technical Park as one Haltons key employment centres, and also to create a joined-up system for living with our local community founded on health and well-being for all.
We cant do this on our own. The Heath Park project will need significant investment from outside sources, and we will therefore be contacting ethical investors and developers to join with us. The outcome of this RIBA competition will help us to explain and illustrate our goals, helping us to forge a roadmap to making Heath Park a world-class example of what is possible.
Through Lockdown the Heath Park team introduced a highly successful interactive website, HeathLive, to keep the community and resident businesses connected through these turbulent times. HeathLive underpins the entire ethos behind the Heath Park programme and reflects what SOG hope the site will contribute to business and community in future years. The competition finalists will be asked to consider lessons from Lockdown as part of their second stage submissions.
The three short-listed RIBA finalists are:
• EcoResponsive Environments Ltd, London
• Kimia Benam & Paul Treacy, London
• Tom Cookson & Sarah Carroll, London
SOG sponsored the Vision for Future Living competition in conjunction with RIBA, The Royal Institute of British Architects, with the objective of generating conceptual ideas that might be adopted into the Heath Park project, which seeks to create a sustainable, multi-use and net carbon-free environment at the Runcorn site.
About The Heath
The Heath Business and Technical Park is a phenomenal regeneration success story. Formed in 2000, its owner and operator, SOG Ltd, has transformed a once single occupancy corporate facility into a thriving independent business park. The Heath now provides office and laboratory accommodation for more than 120 individual organisations, ranging from business services and IT specialists to those at the cutting edge of science, research and advanced manufacturing. Around 2,000 people are employed at the site. For further information, telephone 01928 515988 or visit www.theheath.com
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PAUL SMITH ASSOCIATES
29th May 2020