Baca will be attending the fourth International Conference on Amphibious and Floating Architecture, Design and Engineering at the Institute for Floating Buildings (IfSB e.V.) and Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) in Cottbus, Germany this week.Professor Edmund Penning-Rowsell OBE, will open proceedings with his talk titled: 'Don’t sterilise our floodplains: Use them creatively'. Edmund has over 40 years’ experience of research and teaching in the flood hazard field, analysing floods and investment in flood alleviation, river management, water planning and landscape assessment. He is full professor at Middlesex University, UK and founder of Flood Hazard Research Centre (FHRC), as a specialist Centre where they focus on the socio-economic and policy dimensions of floods. This Centre must be one of the oldest of its type in the world. He is also a Distinguished Research Associate at Oxford University Centre for the Environment. Edmund’s talk will feature some of baca’s built work: The UK's first amphibious house and Nijmegen, a £300m flood relief / river realignment scheme in Holland.Robert Newman, Senior Architect, will present Baca’s latest amphibious designs in a talk titled “When looking at amphibious projects, is resilience about the longevity of the building or longevity of the planet, or both?”We’re looking forward to seeing the photos from the site visit later.hashtag#amphibioushouse hashtag#climatechange hashtag#floodresilience hashtag#floating hashtag#architecture hashtag#design​

Monaco Smart Marinas 

For the Monaco Smart Marinas, we opened our pitch by discussing the beauty and efficiency of sailing, tapping into the setting of the event hosted at Monaco’s Royal Yacht Club. At its simplest, a piece of canvas can stretch using a simple mast and rigging. This canvas then becomes a sail, and this sail can propel a simple vessel across an ocean. It is efficient, clean, sustainable, and the journey is exhilarating. It does not require a huge spend, but the effect is substantial. So, for the competition, we decided to go for a refurbishment over a new build. We asked our team: ‘Can we preserve the building and instead of spending circa £25m on a new building – could we enhance its purpose and yet give it a radically different feel with a budget closer to £2.5 million? And could the design be fun and memorable?’ PRESERVE, REPURPOSE, REUSE The repurposing of the existing concrete structure into our boat club represents a harmonious fusion of sustainability and innovation. The existing building is orthogonal and utilitarian. Much is good and functional and can be repurposed. Our approach has been to open the corner and provide clarity and legibility to the entrance and reception area. Changing rooms and dry-stack are to be refurbished and upgraded. A new café is to be added, a lightweight structure to the existing roof. The most striking feature is the new ultra-marine blue façade that stands proud of the existing structure - Echoes of French Artist Yves Klein’s blue-sky work. The sculptural form signals the location entrance and organizes the activities that sit behind. From the ocean or the land, the building acts as a lighthouse, port, and sanctuary. #Monaco #Retrofit #Refurbish #Architecture #Marina #Monacosmartmarinas #design #yachts​

Glamping Show

Baca's spinoff company, Outdoor Sanctuaries, will be showcasing our designs for the Skylark, an eco-friendly luxury glamping experience at the Glamping Show today, tomorrow, and Saturday! If you're passionate about innovative outdoor experiences, sustainability, and luxury camping, make sure to visit our stand 1026 at the Glamping Show. Our team is on hand to showcase our latest creations and share insights into how we're redefining outdoor hospitality. Event Details:The Glamping Show, NAEC Stoneleigh, CV8 2LHToday, Tomorrow & Saturday9:30 AM - 5:30 PM Come explore our unique glamping solutions, designed to bring you closer to nature without compromising on comfort. Learn about our commitment to eco-friendly practices and discover the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation that Outdoor Sanctuaries offers. #GlampingShow #OutdoorSanctuaries #LuxuryCamping #Sustainability #InnovationInCamping​


According to Flood Re, a partnership between the insurance industry and the UK Government, there are 2 million people across the UK exposed to 'frequent flooding.' They have a greater than 10% chance of being flooded in the next decade. Climate change and increased flooding are sadly two sides of the same coin. When our practice first started research in the flood sector, the average cost of repairing a flooded home was £22k. This has now risen to £32k. Some good news: 266,000 Flood Re policies were taken up in 2022. If flooded, Flood Re will provide up to £10K in addition to the repair costs to 'Build-back-better,' making homes more secure and more flood-resilient to what will inevitably come. Baca Director Richard Coutts was invited to the Launch of Flood Re's Transition Plan 2023 at the top of the Gherkin last week. Not only for the event but also as an architect, level 40 (building by Fosters & Partners) provides some of the best views of the City of London. It also affords a wonderful view of Lloyds of London by Richard Rogers.Laura Tobin, Meteorologist, and Weather Presenter provided a great introduction to the event and some sobering statistics on climate change. She rallied the audience to keep the global temperature within 1.5 degrees Celsius. At 1.5°C, summer maximum rainfall could increase by 4%. At 3°C, summer maximum rainfall could increase by 7%. Interspersed with dryer spells, the consequences of surface water runoff will be significant. For those considering buying a house soon, please enter your postcode into the EA’s searches.  It will give you an instant indication of the risk from both river and surface water flooding. Avoidance is key. If you can't avoid it, then utilize the government’s flood insurance.Link: https://www.floodre.co.uk​

Leaders Council 

For the people who run the country and the people who keep the country running:Chaired by the former Home Secretary and Education Secretary, Lord Blunkett, The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland brings together the most influential figures from across the country. It celebrates the hard work and achievements of the nation’s unsung leaders while laying the groundwork for the next generation. From the CEO of a multinational bank to the founder of an innovative new start-up, these are the people who take risks, create jobs, and empower their colleagues.As Leaders Council members, they are committed to sharing knowledge with others. Baca Director Richard Coutts expresses his gratitude to Lord Blunkett and his team for inviting him to join the Leaders Council at Westminster last week. King Charles III’s Coronation carriage welcomed guests at Parliament. “It was humbling to join NHS leaders, headteachers, sports club leaders, and innovators in tech and building materials. I particularly enjoyed meeting up with the team from BioHouse – although they made me feel quite old! Also, thanks to our long-term client, Mr. Joshua Church of Blythe Holdings, who joined us from the Isle of Man for the evening.” said Richard. Hopefully, these new connections will help with our lobbying for modest changes to the building regulations to enable resilient measures linked to flood zoning to come forward. #leaderscouncil #westminster #innovation #architecture #constructionindustry​


Our CEO, Richard Coutts, is participating in MIPIMWorld, the largest annual global property event. He will be part of a panel discussing the crucial issue of water in the context of property development. Panelists: Jean-Christophe TaretAlexandra NotayRichard CouttsHarold Spies Currently, 30 cities in France are facing water shortages even before winter ends, and special measures for water usage will be announced soon. Water sobriety is now the new buzzword in Europe as the continent copes with the effects of extreme weather conditions. Stay tuned for more updates as there are insightful solutions in South Africa. #sustainability #baca #propertydevelopment #water #southafrica #france #mipim2023 #watermanagement #waterconservation​

Protecting Future Homeowners from Flooding 

Last week, Baca Director Richard Coutts visited the 'Flood school' at HR Wallingford’s flood testing site near Oxfordshire to attend Flood Re’s 'Property Resilience Roundtable.' Flood Re is a reinsurance scheme that makes flood cover more widely available and affordable to homeowners. The topics covered included an update on the PFR Community of Interest, the Flood Compliance Platform, a detailed update on and practical exercise on Build Back Better, an update on the Scoring Project, and updates from Defra and the Environment Agency on policy and implementation. Moving forward It is our observation that homeowners will not wade through 500-page manuals and, often and reluctantly, will only engage with the statutory requirements of the building regulations. Recent conversations with clients have included challenging discussions over their requirement to have larger areas of glazing and questioning why we need to deliver 10% net biological gain. Another observation is the growing trend to pave over front gardens to enable electric cars to charge next to the home – the owners feel they’ve done their bit for the environment when, conversely, they are removing landscaping that attenuates and reduces surface water flooding. The rising cost of fuel prices has also added to the mix, and hence it is in this context that the Flood Re Insurance Coverage and proposed version of the EPC Certificate should be considered. The data sets are encouraging, but what is clear is how best now to translate complex data (and, as we know, every flood site is different) into some simple, comprehensive guidance that empowers householders to improve their stock either proactively or after a flood event has occurred to boost their future resilience. Our suggestions: - Based on your postcode, the EA has flood mapping that provides information on the severity and probability of a flood event. Perhaps this information can also provide the height of the floodwaters (This information is available from the EA in Flood Pack 4).- Based on the above, the homeowner is directed to no more than 10-20 products and solutions – each with a weighting that is linked to the EPC score. The guidance - linked to updated building regs - will provide sample detailing and retrofitting information on how best to fit individual products and/or as a suite of solutions.- Flood Re to provide guidance on the financial benefits to the homeowner for doing so (i.e., payback periods balanced against the probability of flooding).  The assessment should also include what percentage of the property's external spaces are hard or soft (therefore addressing issues such as paving over gardens for electric cars and considering permeable paving as an alternative) and therefore not exacerbating surface water flooding.​

A Smart Vision for Monaco

“One Planet Living was a concept developed by Bio-Regional when I was a student. It spurred BedZED, by Bill Dunster - the UK's first major sustainable community. It’s a philosophy that has slowly gained traction. At Baca, we developed LifE (Long-term Initiatives for Flood Risk Environments), a body of work that would enable sustainable development and, in Monaco’s case, address sea level rise.” Says Richard Coutts, Director at Baca Architects.   So, when invited to speak at the Royal Yacht Club Monaco, organized by Monaco Marina Management, he posed a simple question to the audience and the club - Could the municipality of Monaco (Population 39,000), including the yacht club (a hub of marine innovation), become a self-sustaining community? Observing the marina, you get a glimpse of the built future: thin film photovoltaics wrap state-of-the-art monocoque catamarans – that use wind as their main source to carry them on hydrofoils across the Atlantic. Among other exhibitors, plans for hydrogen-powered tenders and ecoconcrete sea defenses (reduced carbon in production, designed for carbon capture, biophilic receptiveness). But like most countries and cities - one overriding issue: Monaco has no more space. Its positives include that because of its size, it can change policies quickly and has the financial means to enact change. Within the marina, luxury boats sit primed at 100% charge, but they do not work together, dumping waste energy. To an observer, possibly one of the most beautiful solar arrays on water. Could this flotilla of boats create a unified energy network and either capture surplus energy or use it for the benefit of the wider city? Monaco is also very urban, consisting of many hard surfaces - its roofscapes are prominently flat with little greening. So, there was a discussion alongside pioneers of energy, design, and materials, what is the future of the Smart Marina and could this be extended into smart city design that they sustain. The symposium was hosted by Sir Robin Knox and was great to share ideas with Maarten van de Vorde - West 8, And Nicola Beck - NBax Architecture & Design, Eduardo Gutierrez - On-A, Giovanni de Niederhausern – Pininfarina. Hopefully, these ideas will evolve into tangible deliverables. #architecture #design #innovation #marina #marinaarchitects​



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