PRESS RELEASE

Now let’s turn this project into reality say judges as Eco Responsive is named winner of RIBA’s ‘Vision of Future Living’ competition

Runcorn: October 12th, 2020:  Eco Responsive Environments, an emerging design and architectural practice based in London, has won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) ‘Vision of Future Living’ competition sponsored by SOG Group, owner and operator of The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn.

The two runners-up from a contest that attracted entries from around the world were UK teams, Kimia Benan with Paul Treacy, and Tom Cookson with Sarah Carroll.

John Lewis MBE, SOG’s owner and Managing Director, said: “I’m delighted with the outcome of this fantastic competition, superbly coordinated by RIBA, which has generated amazing designs and ideas from across the world. All three of our finalists provided us with a fascinating insight to what The Heath could look like in the future.

“We’ve seen extraordinary ideas and designs which set the judges an enormous challenge to choose a winner, but ultimately the submission from Eco Responsive has offered us a breath-taking glimpse of the possibilities for The Heath. It will certainly help us to attract interest from global investors to turn our dreams into reality. Our next steps are now to embark on a feasibility study for the Heath Park programme, and the outcome from the RIBA competition will be key factor in this process.

“I’d like to thank RIBA, and Terry Rogan and Simon Lewis from my SOG team, for their sterling efforts in making this global competition such a massive success.”

The 5-strong judges’ panel included some of the UK’s most influential architects and designers including Paul Monaghan, Professor Rachel Cooper OBE, Hugh Broughton along with Mr Lewis and his own consultant architect, Terry Rogan.

Mr Monaghan, Director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, said: “The standard of final entries for this competition was extremely high. Each entry had followed a particular pursuit in great depth illustrated with excellent drawings. The competition winning entry for Heath Park will create a truly 21st century sustainable campus.  I have rarely seen such a thorough presentation and I look forward to seeing this vision being built. SOG has a proven track record for delivering major regeneration projects and I feel this is the sort of scheme that must happen, and SOG is an organisation with the credentials to make it happen.”

Professor Cooper OBE, Distinguished Professor of Design Management and Policy at Lancaster University, said: “This landmark competition, with a radical brief from the client, challenged architects to rethink the future of place. All the submissions rose to the challenge. The three finalists submitted highly innovative and comprehensive solutions.  Eco Responsive Environments truly re-imagined in detail every aspect of The Heath to be a world leading sustainable, resilient place with a blueprint that would deliver economic, social and environmental wellbeing. The Heath has an exciting future.”

Mr Broughton, Director of Hugh Broughton Architects, said: “The competition for the redevelopment of The Heath asked architects to consider how we will live, work and play in the future and how we can develop places which are both environmentally and financially sustainable.  All three finalists came up with brilliant schemes which were beautifully and eloquently presented.

“Eco Responsive’s proposals were selected as winners because they provide a wonderful framework for the future of The Heath which weaves ideas for landscape, water management, food production and work with concepts for inter-generational living which are both optimistic and realistic. It will be truly exciting to see their plans develop under the stewardship of an enlightened client.”

Mr Rogan commented: “It has been a real pleasure to have worked with a client who places people at the core of his business philosophy. John Lewis’ vision for The Heath Park Project builds on the successful regeneration of the old ICI headquarters campus and proposes to embrace wider responsibilities to community and the environment, illuminating the way to a better future in how we live, work and play. Eco-Responsive Environments are to be heartily congratulated for a response to the competition brief with a scheme that is all-encompassing, providing a sensitive, innovative but realistic framework for the future Heath Park and also mindful of the ethical investment needed to achieve it.”

Prachi Rampuria, Director and Co-founder of Eco Responsive Environments, said: “We are inspired by this vote of confidence in our complex-systems approach to design. As a relatively new practice, this win is a huge milestone for us. Working with an enlightened landowner, vibrant local and regional community interests, this is an exciting opportunity for a beacon project to point up opportunities for tomorrow’s world. On behalf of the wider team, we would like to thank SOG and RIBA for this great opportunity.”

Joanne Wallis, Senior Competitions Manager for RIBA, said: “This unique project at Heath Park asked competitors to consider not only the reinvention of the site but to consider a new way of living for the future.  This has produced original and insightful solutions by all shortlisted entrants.  The ideas generated by this competition can now help shape future thinking and act as a catalyst for change.  I look forward to seeing the visionary ideas become reality.”

SOG sponsored the ‘Vision for Future Living’ competition in conjunction with RIBA, with the objective of generating conceptual ideas that might be adopted into the Heath Park project, which seeks to transform The Heath into a futeristic version of Port Sunlight. SOG’s goal is to turn the location into a sustainable net carbon-free environment where people can work, live and play to meet the needs of the next 20 years and beyond.

About SOG and The Heath

The Heath Business and Technical Park is a phenomenal regeneration success story. After taking ownership in 2000, SOG transformed the once single-occupancy corporate facility into a thriving independent business park which 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.  The Park supports 2,000 jobs.

Using The Heath’s successful business model, SOG created a consultancy operation under the name of ‘Fusion’ to offer specialist regeneration advice, guidance and project management services to organisations considering closing or downsizing large sites.

This led to SOG spearheading the repurposing of a former pharmaceutical plant in east London with the creation of Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park which operated as a sister site to The Heath.  SOG helped attract over £2.5billion of investment to the site in Dagenham including projects for Europe’s biggest data centre, a regional headquarters building for the Unite Trade Union,  an educational campus with state-of-art Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory for University College London, an hotel, pub/restaurant and London’s first new film studios to be opened for more than 40 years.

Overall, the regeneration programme devised by SOG is expected to produce more than 3,000 jobs in an area suffering from high unemployment. After selling the Londoneast-uk last year, SOG turned its focus back on Runcorn to re-evaluate the potential of its flagship business park, which triggered the RIBA ‘Vision of Future Living’ competition.

For more information on ‘Heath Park’ visit: www.heathpark-uk.com

For more on SOG and The Heath Business and Technical Park visit: www.theheath.com

 Issued on behalf of SOG Group

Media contact: Paul Smith Associates (PSA) +44 (0) 7771 623 007

E-mail: paul@paulsmithassociates.co.uk