RICHARD COUTTS, DIRECTOR
Richard Coutts co-founded Baca in 2003. Richard is a Chartered Architect with over 15 years experience. With a Master’s degree in daylighting and PV technology from Sheffield University, he is particularly interested in renewable energy, sustainability and low carbon design. He has directed large high profile projects such as the Eiland Veur Lent in Nijmegen - a new ‘eco-leisure’ destination in The Netherlands; the Waterspace Strategy for UNESCO World Heritage Site – Liverpool South Docks and an array of high quality one-off architectural projects for private clients. Richard has also designed several unique memorials for Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and is a professional illustrator. He formerly worked for Sir Terry Farrell & Partners and Dr. Ken Yeang in Malaysia and Australia, including working as resident site architect for the Guthrie Pavilion – Winner of Aga Kahn Best Building in Asia 2000.
Richard is a visionary. He is happiest when drawing and even happier when the focus of the sketch is an image of our future cities living in harmony with the environment.
The future of climate change is real. Richard co-founded Baca in response to the changes in weather that are a consequence of this. How we inhabit a future of increased rainfall, increased sea-level and increased threat of flood is central to Baca's work. Richard leads the office as Team Principal.
Richard has developed a pragmatic approach to this long-term vision, finding practical solutions for inhabiting and building with water. This aims to make our built communities safe - keeping people dry whilst enjoying the benefits of living near water, which humans are so attracted towards.
Richard was site architect on the experimental architecture icon that is the Guthrie Pavillion whilst working with the award winning Dr Architect Ken Yeang. The project won the Aga Kahn prize for best building in Malaysia.
At Ken Yeang's Richard developed his bio-climatic ethos focusing on low energy design for medium and high-rise buildings.
Ken Yeang has stayed a close mentor to the practice and wrote the prologue to the Aquatecture publication.
Richard has previously worked at Sir Terry Farrell & Partners as a masterplanner and Architect working on the Orange HQ in Paddington Basin. At Andrew Wright Associates (Young Architect of the year 2000), Richard was central to the masterplanning team.
Richard is a life-long traveller and Baca projects have taken him around the world. Living and working in Malaysia, Asian culture became an important creative and cultural inspiration for Richard. Richard collects Japanese prints, as these artworks are a major reference in his designs and the representation of the natural elements relationship to the artificial construction of the city.
As well as Director at Baca Architects, Richard is an advisor to HM
Government on the Flood Advisory Group. This group brings together industry professionals from different disciplines in order to assemble the multi-pronged response required to deal with the threat of flood.
Research at Baca has led to the practice advising on policy with the Environment Agency, Defra and the BRE. This research led to practical design guidance for flood resilience in the Metric Handbook. In addition the 'Aquatecture' book written by Baca and published by RIBA, has become a reference book for architects and planners working on sites threatened by
Richard has been member of the RIBA Sustainable Futures expert advisory group and lectures worldwide. Richard is seen here at the RIBA Commonwealth dinner with Kalim Siddiqui, President of the Institute of Architects Pakistan.
Richard thinks through sketching and always has a pencil in his hand.
Sketching is vital to Baca studio life, crucial as both a design tool and a method of communication. This comes across in his designs, which invariably start with a rigorous process of critical sketching. The V&A and the RIBA are collecting drawing archives of Baca's designs:
"It would be wonderful if we could collect material of the Amphibious House for the V&A collection. It works well with the V&A's desire to collect designs that relate to the improvement of society."
- Dr Olivia Horsfall Turner, Lead Curator, Designs, V&A + RIBA Architecture.
Richard's spare time is invariably spent with his family, engaged in drawing, painting and crafting in a range of media, whether at home or abroad.