Developer seeks mixed-use vision for 24ha business and technical park in Runcorn

The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn

The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn

The RIBA has launched an ideas competition for the redevelopment of a 24ha business and technical park in Runcorn which used to be the headquarters of chemicals giant ICI.

SOG Group, which is the operator of the Heath Business and Technical Park – developed in the 1960s and 70s – said it was seeking non-site-specific proposals on the design and interaction of future workplaces, living spaces and external spaces.

Its competition, which offers a £20,000 prize to the ultimate winner and a £5,000 honorarium for shortlisted entries, is described as being “particularly interested” in ideas that “promote health and happiness and help to eradicate loneliness and poverty”.

SOG’s over-arching vision for the site is to upgrade its core buildings, where employers who are currently on-site would relocate, demolish redundant buildings and redevelop the remaining parts with new housing and community facilities.

Hugh Broughton

Source: Janie Airey

Hugh Broughton

SOG managing director John Lewis said the firm was keen to repurpose the site in a sustainable way at the same time as responding to a “global technological explosion” that would change the way people lived and worked.

“Now is the perfect time for us to re-invent 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,” he said.

“We look forward to seeing some truly innovative ideas about how to design and procure sustainable homes and workplaces that are fit for the future.”

Hugh Broughton is the appointed RIBA advisor for the competition. He said the “exemplary work” of SOG had already preserved jobs and protected the interests of the local community in Runcorn.

“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 harness technology for the good of us all,” he said.

The closing date to submit initial design proposals is February 11. More details are available here.