The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has crowned London-based design studio EcoResponsive Environments winner of the ‘Vision of the Future’ competition. The competition’s objective? To transform a 60-acre site in the industrial Cheshire town of Runcorn into a sustainable, multipurpose and zero-carbon landscape. EcoResponsive Environments’ winning entry earned praise for its integration of eco-friendly landscape management practices, food production and intergenerational living for both social and environmental sustainability.
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RIBA’s design competition sought conceptual ideas for transforming The Heath Business and Technical Park, a multi-occupancy business and science park owned and operated by SOG Ltd., a leading U.K. operator of business and technical parks that sponsored the competition. The Heath Park project, currently undergoing a feasibility study, is intended as a futuristic beacon project to be used as a model with transferable design concepts for sustainable regeneration in other sites.
“Our vision for Heath Park illustrates an ambitious yet practicable future: a place that helps its users cultivate prosperous and sustainable futures of health and wellbeing,” EcoResponsive Environments explained in a press statement. “To achieve this at Heath Park we build on its thriving research economy and existing assets to weave together natural landscape, public space, plots and buildings; interlaced with regenerative utilities and bottom-up information systems; challenging climate change, underemployment and social disconnection – each with it’s associated physical and mental health issues, all now highlighted through the impact of coronavirus – to re-invent Heath Park as a desired place to live, work and play.”
EcoResponsive Environments’ Heath Park renderings show a community-oriented landscape where mixed-use buildings cluster around large central courtyards with diverse programming, from outdoor events spaces to community gardens. Solar panels, gardens and productive farming spaces sit atop the roofs. Nature is integrated throughout the master plan, which includes extensive landscaping with tree-lined streets as well as lakes and waterways that feed through the site.
Images via EcoResponsive Environments