Watermarks, RSAW Spring School
Baca were extremely pleased to be invited to speak at Watermarks, the Spring School of the Royal Society of Architects Wales. The conference had a fantastic programme offering insight into “Architecture in a fluid world” curated by Mary Wrenn. Geraldine Holland, Architect at Baca, spoke on behalf of the practice. Professor Jessica Lamond, Flood Risk Management at University of West of England, chaired the event, starting with an introductory presentation offering her extensive insight into working in flood risk. Lamond is an old friend to Baca Architects, having collaborated on the LifE project (Long-term initiatives for Flood-risk Environments) while she was at Defra over 10 years ago, as well as the World Flood Handbook. The first of several ‘inspiration hour’ talks was by Jankirk Hoekstra, Advisor and Landscape Architect, H+N+S Landschapsarchitecten, Amersfoort. Hoekstra gave a lively and informative presentation into the history of human intervention in flood resilience in Holland. “In a country where more than half the land is at or below sea level, flooding is a constant vulnerability for The Netherlands. Landscape architecture design office H+N+S describe their work as ‘engineering art’, contributing to a meaningful relationship between people and the environment” This history of sustainable approaches to construction to harmoniously inhabit a natural world place the Netherlands at the forefront of building for flood resilience and the UK look to their neighbour for insight into how to inform our practice here.Baca’s presentation touched on their vision of a world living harmoniously with the natural environment and change in climate, and how this vision is shared by Waterstudio, dutch based practice led by Koen Olthius. Geraldine Holland presentated 3 Baca case studies to illustrate the practical approach that Baca has evolved in looking to a future increasingly threatened by flood. In researching and studying flood environments over a decade, Baca are incrementally advancing changes in approach, step by step. This is a multi-pronged approach, starting with their design and planning guidance, going on to roles advising on policy with a firm basis in piloting the UK’s first amphibious house and other flood resilient construction methods. The Amphibious House is a favourite project of the practice and is perhaps the most well-known for having featured on television programme Grand Designs. This pioneering approach has led to other innovations. The Shipston Road development of 11 homes regenerates a brownfield site in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, which is flood zones 2 and 3. The careful neighbourhood planning, landscape and infrastructure design and construction methods come together in a highly technical strategy to ensure safe and dry homes in a beautiful residential environment where fluctuating water levels are celebrated in the gardens and recreation spaces. Tyram Lakes takes Baca Architects expertise into another dimension, that of a floating eco resort for a 5* leisure destination. The hotel has a fully integrated flood resilient strategy for building in Flood Zone 2. The floating lodges inhabit the lakes. The development regenerates a former industrial site to a flourishing natural environment for wildlife. Following this shared presentation described the changes to the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea: ‘From waterside development to tidal lagoon – reflections on the ambitions of a city by the sea and the wider region. Jane Davidson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Sustainability and Engagement, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea, and Pierre Wassenaar, Director, Head of Technology and Innovation Stride Treglown Architects, Cardiff told of their experience in the development of a fantastic piece of city, on the edge of the sea, is being reinvented as university campus. Finally, Simonetta Cenci and Alfonso Femia, of Ateliers Alsfonso Femia, gave an inspiring lecture on their multi-scale approach to architecture - simultaneously studying the wider city whilst crafting fine details of public space. Their presentation of Genoa as a changing waterfront port city demonstrated the practices ability to balance poetic and technical thinking. The Marseille project ‘Les Docks’ illustrates the practice as both fine artists, strategic urban planners and respectful community and heritage renovators. The site of Portmeirion was an absolute delight. The famous Welsh hospitality lived up to it’s name and the warmest welcome in Sir Clough William-Ellis’s stunning architectural icon. We hope to return next year!
Big announcement coming soon
Baca Architects and Craft: Pegg Landscape Architects have won a major UK competition of national importance. It’s very different to what we’re best known for plus it’s funded by the Chancellor. More news coming soon.
104 Bedroom hotel in South Yorkshire
Baca have commenced designs for a new eco-friendly hotel and spa resort in South Yorkshire. The Tyram Lakes Hotel and Spa will offer a unique luxury experience where visitors get back to nature in a resort that will minimize its impact on the environment. The hotel is being considered with several site-specific renewable power and heat generation systems and will be 70% off grid. The resort will form a completely closed water system without connection to mains water. Director Richard Coutts said: “We are creating a hotel that is good for you and for the environment. It makes me feel good.” The hotel provides 104 luxury rooms, fine dining restaurant, conferencing and meeting facilities, pool, superior spa and state-of-the-art gym, and picturesque party and wedding venue. Suites and a top floor bar provide panoramic views of the lakes and countryside beyond. Conferencing in the countryside will be a perfect space to free the mind and think those big ideas. The spa will feature an outdoor, and indoor swimming pool, six treatment rooms, and deep relaxation spaces. Guests will also be able to enjoy wild swimming in the lake.
Baca's retrospective in Dezeen
Baca Architects have been featured in Dezeen as part of their x MINI Living video series. This retrospective explores the “Aquatecture” of Baca Architects, which includes plans for floating houses, villages and even a Grand Prix track. This article highlights Baca’s interest in research and innovation which has driven the practice to its current position as one of the most innovative architectural practices in the UK. To watch the video, click on following link https://www.dezeen.com/2017/06/09/video-baca-architects-floating-architecture-homes-movie/
Plans have been submitted for a innovative new house in Nottinghamshire. The curvaceous house has been commissioned by an affluent couple seeking a new home that is “luxurious, environmentally-friendly and playful.” It was a design challenge we relished. The client presented our office with a simple proposition: ‘Why live in a box? Our cars are streamlined, soft in form and luxurious – why can’t our new house follow the same philosophy?’ From this unusual brief grew an exuberant design for a 21st century country house: a hidden retreat, designed for entertaining, and set within and around a beautiful landscaped garden. The vision is a sculptural property that stretches the boundaries of design, structure, and environmental thinking. It achieves a combination often difficult to resolve: a home that is ultra low in energy use but also high in aesthetic aspiration and quality. Baca are hoping the house, titled Serenity, will push the boundaries of environmental and architectural design; develop technological innovations that will inform future buildings in the UK and produce a beautiful country house that will be enjoyed by generations to come.
New Role for Baca Director at No. 10
Richard Coutts attended the inaugural meeting of the Floods Advisory Group at N° 10, Downing Street last week, chaired by minster’s Andrew Percy MP, Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse and Dr Therese Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State. The National Flood Resilience Review sets out the Government’s commitment to develop and pilot a new model of self-financing investment, which is intended to increase local flood resilience and enhance urban regeneration. The Advisory Group will now establish a framework in order to establish these objectives and will report back to Government over the forthcoming months. Sheffield has been identified as the pilot scheme.