Student’s futuristic building design wins first prize at Howbery Business Park

A student from Wallingford School has won first prize in a design competition organised by Howbery Business Park to create a futuristic interpretation of a new building that could occupy the park’s available development land.

Created by 16 year old, Claire Soden, the winning design has an emphasis on sustainable features such as using reclaimed materials and installing a grass roof on the first floor with a watering system from captured rain.

Bruce Tomlinson, Chief Executive of Howbery Business Park, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the standard of all designs entered into the competition and the level of detail provided.  It was a tough decision, but we feel that Claire is the deserved winner.  Not only does the building look futuristic, Claire has demonstrated huge consideration to sustainable features, in keeping with the park’s outstanding green credentials.”

Claire Soden said: “My design for the development at Howbery Business Park was inspired by bold, quirky shapes.  I wanted to create a futuristic building that also complemented the environment.”

Second and third prizes in the competition went to Oliver Bolton (15) and Matilda Whitehead (13).

Howbery Business Park is the UK’s first business park to be powered by solar panels and has strong ties with its major occupiers including the Environment Agency and park owner HR Wallingford, a company that offers consultancy services for the management of water and the environment in addition environmental hydraulics projects.

The park has planning permission to create 70,000 sq. ft. of new office space and it’s hoped that Oxfordshire businesses and developers will be inspired by the students’ designs.

Robert Pickford, Curriculum Coordinator for Art, Wallingford School, comments: “Wallingford School has an aim to ensure students engage with businesses in a vocational context  and we’re very proud of standard of work produced.  We have a strong relationship with Howbery Business Park and park tenants and look forward to partnering with them again soon.”

Students’ drawings from the design competition were exhibited in the park’s historic Manor House and the winning design is now a key feature on an external Perspex sign created to simulate a view across the development land.

Howbery Business Park has an on-going relationship with Wallingford School with a number of collaborations including painting of a mural at the request of park tenant Anglo Info, student work experience with park tenants and Howbery’s donation of unused office furniture for the school’s IT room.

For further information about Howbery Business Park development opportunities and available office space visit