It would be fair to say the City of Preston is not the first place that springs to mind if someone was to mention horse racing, but this may be about to change thanks to a Preston based design firm who are fast becoming the go to practice for the racing industry.
RPS Design Group who are based on Winckley Square have already won commissions in the racing heartlands of Newmarket, Epsom and Lambourn, a significant achievement for a Northern practice which is only five years old. Word of their achievements has now spread overseas with the practice recently being interviewed for a lead consultant role by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
RPS Design Group director Richard McGonigal explained ‘We were commissioned a few years ago to undertake the design of a racehorse training yard in Kidderminster. The project involved conversion of agricultural buildings to 60+ stables together with trainers and groom’s accommodation, indoor arena, all-weather gallops and equine therapy pool. The project offered us an insight into the racing industry and how architecture can play an important role in whether your horse will finish 1st or 2nd.’
RPS Design Group operate across various sectors including residential, commercial and sport and leisure but like most architects their clients had always been of the two-legged variety. Designing for horses was a steep learning curve but one in which the practice excelled.
‘The racing industry is very tight knit, we seem to have forged a good reputation off the back of the projects we have been involved with and have received praise from some very well-respected people in the racing industry which is nice.’
Having looked at schemes for Warwick, Exeter, Salisbury and Cartmel Racecourses RPS Design Group now have their sights set overseas and have already been approached to look at Olympic standard competition venues in Dubai, Qatar and the UAE.
RPS Design Group director Seb Salisbury said “To be recognised internationally is a credit to the team. We are looking forward to testing ourselves on international projects in the future and strengthening our position in the UK racing industry’.