Baca Architects

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Baca Architects's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Baca Architects is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.baca.uk.com

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | HAINES PHILLIPS ARCHITECTS
A planning system and an
education system fit for
purpose
If you were to ask architects what the
primary issue in the industry is, the
most common answer would likely
be “the planning system”. The fact
is, getting local authorities to consent
to a proposal can often be an overly
and needlessly convoluted task. Of
course, part of our most valuable skill
is in overcoming the challenges in
the planning system. However, the
inconsistency of the application of
planning policy by local authorities can
place a considerable hurdle in the way
of a successful outcome.
Some clients are surprised to hear
that – starting from a blank sheet of
paper – it can take upwards of 18
months for a developed proposal to be
fully approved by a local authority. The
upside is that we rarely fail to receive
permission, but the sheer time it takes
can often be unpleasant and have
serious implications for the project and
our work. What makes this situation
especially bad is that the system seems
to be getting more complex as time
goes on.
Another fundamental issue we face
is the lack of architectural skills in
the UK. As the industry increases in
complexity, it’s all the more necessary
that we train young people to work
in this sector. At present, however,
we find that too many university
graduates lack the entry skills to start
in a firm like ours. A more practical
and thorough understanding of
architecture needs to be more widely
taught; otherwise, practices like ours
will suffer in the future. Our firm
invests heavily in upskilling the young
graduates we employ to make up for
areas of shortfall in their education,
with no surety that the investment will
pay off.
Moving forward whatever the
case
Any industry concerning buildings
will always be cyclical – it’s simply the
nature of the sector, as sometimes
more and sometimes fewer projects
are being built. The goal of business
is to survive in the good times and the
bad – an ability which we possess. As
the economy rises and falls, we ensure
we adapt to the needs of the time,
even if this entails the unfortunate task
of having to reduce staff size.
Nevertheless, this means that even
when times are less than great – such
as at the time of writing this, when
our turnover is currently around 20 per
cent less than it was in 2017 – we can
still operate smoothly and provide our
clients with the top-quality, tailored
service they expect of us. In short,
we are confident in our future health
andsuccess.
As the industry
increases in
complexity, it’s
all the more
necessary that
we train young
people to
work in this
sector
Extension of Grade
II listed house,
Kensington, London,
SW7
27BACA ARCHITECTS |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
The UK’s first amphibious house
Room for the River project,
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Founded by Director Richard Coutts in 2003, Baca Architects
is a specialist in waterfront and water-based architecture.
Since then, Baca has delivered many firsts, including a flood
resilience policy for the London Borough of Sutton, robust
planning principles for Defra, planning permissions for large and
small developments and the UK’s first amphibious and building
regulations-compliant floating homes. In addition to being
director at Baca, Richard is also a member of the RIBA’s Policy
Team and supports Defra’s Core Cities Flood Advisory Group at
Downing Street. He tells
The Parliamentary Review
more.
Flooding is one of the greatest environmental threats in the UK, causing an average
£1.4 billion in damage a year to businesses and households. The impact of flooding
is far greater than the resulting financial costs – it disrupts thousands of lives and
livelihoods and has a profound impact on health and wellbeing.
These effects are often long-lasting and extend far beyond communities that were
originally flooded. They include direct injuries and infections, but also long-term
problems resulting from the impacts of damage to homes, displacement until
properties are habitable, and delayed recovery and loss of value of properties.
Currently, one in six homes is at risk of flooding but, with a combination of extreme
storms, intense downpours and rising sea levels forecast to hit the UK in the next
30 years, this number is expected to double by 2050. Flooding will become the new
norm; the Committee on Climate Change warns that “severe flooding somewhere in
England in any given year is almost to be expected”. The implications of this are huge.
FACTS ABOUT
BACA ARCHITECTS
»Director: Richard Coutts
»Established in 2009
»Based in London Bridge
»Services: Masterplanning and
architecture
»No. of employees: 15
»Richard is the co-designer of
the Dover Commonwealth
War Memorial
Baca Architects
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | BACA ARCHITECTS
We frequently collaborate with Dutch
architects and have had success with
our more landscape-based approach
to the vagaries of flooding challenges.
We reject the traditional approach of
continuously raising flood prevention
walls and look beyond the norm
to ensure security and improved
wellbeing across the board.
New innovations – the Tyram
Lakes Hotel and Spa
People are drawn to water for wellness
and relaxation, but the threat of
flooding is an oft-ignored potential
hindrance. One of our projects,
the Tyram Lakes Hotel and Spa, an
exemplar in both flood-resilient and
ecological design, recently secured
full planning permission. This project
unites the opportunity for regeneration
in the form of luxury ecotourism to
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on a site
which was historically used for the
extraction of sand and gravel.
The CEO and owner of the 65-acre
lake site and 100-acre woodland
area, Alex Pearce, had a clear vision.
He wanted to recreate the natural
beauty of the site and restore many
of its original ecosystems, all the while
developing an ecofriendly and luxury-
orientated hotel, spa and leisure resort.
Alex engaged our services, as flood
and floating pioneers, to help deliver
this vision.
With the majority of the site being
located off the beaten track, the
concept features 125 floating lakeside
lodges, coupled with 200 woodland
retreat lodges, a luxury 104-bedroomed
boutique hotel, a restaurant,
conference facilities, an indoor pool, a
leisure club, a superior spa, a state-of-
the-art gymnasium and a picturesque
wedding and party venue.
For the hotel, we met the potential
flood risk using a number of strategies.
For instance, all bedrooms are all
located on the first and second floors,
and the ground floor is above the risk
level identified by the Environment
Agency. Spaces at ground floor and
basement are constructed to be
robust and suitable for fast recovery
should a flood occur. The simplicity
of this approach allows flexibility for
innovation in the construction itself.
The building, while adopting a sinuous
profile and “wrapping” around
the lake, will use a high proportion
of timber construction and off-
site prefabrication. A “fabric-first”
approach to environmental design
will ensure that meeting on-site and
renewable energy requirements is not
too onerous.
As well as having a solar roof, the
lake itself will be used as a source of
heating and cooling. The building
will use a minimal amount of carbon
in both construction and operation,
helping to keep running costs low in a
future of uncertain energy supplies.
The lodges are a mix of designer
two, three and four-bedroom
accommodations which are designed
to offer luxury and comfort while
maximising energy conservation
and carbon reduction, and, where
practicable, to aspire to reaching
Passivhaus standards in these regards.
All roofs will be fitted with solar
panels and backed by an innovative
advanced technology and sustainability
Tyram Lakes Hotel and
Spa
Flooding is
one of the
greatest
environmental
threats in the
UK
29BACA ARCHITECTS |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
system designed by Immersa, which
will capture renewable sources of
energy and subsequently store them
in a state-of-the-art sustainable
battery. Energy will then be integrated
into smart power grids to deliver an
accessible and responsible electricity
supply across the entire project.
Our team also introduced Geyser
Thermal Energy Ltd into the project,
and they will be providing specialist
thermal energy solutions across the
Tyram Lakes project. Geyser have
recognised the lake as a potential
energy source that can help the project
to meet heating and hot water needs
for the lodges as well as the hotel and
leisure complex.
By making use of renewable energy
alongside their innovative heat pump
and heat recovery system, it will use
less than 90 per cent of the energy
of a standard boiler, and the water
treatment system will save over
10,000,000 litres of water every year.
Challenges for the next few
years
Flooding is the new fire. A consequence
of climate change is that flooding
from both rainfall and sea level rise
will increase in both intensity and
frequency. Protecting life, safety and
reducing damage to property can and
should be integrated into the planning
process and the building regulations.
Policy or the lack thereof comes in
three key areas:
»New building in the floodplain
»Existing buildings in the floodplain
»The replacement or upgrading of
existing dwellings in the floodplain
The least clarity in planning policy at
present is in the area of upgrading and
replacement, where local authorities
now insist on sequential tests for sites
already developed and in established
settlements.
The National Planning Policy Framework
needs to encourage the opportunity
for betterment and provide more
coherence on building standards
to enable householders to upgrade
with more confidence. For new-build
developments, a simple tweak to the
building regulations would ensure that
flood zone designation would trigger
resilience measures in construction. Mass
housing outside the floodplain could
be built unhindered, and only those at
potential risk would be upgraded.
By working with water, and providing
the necessary framework for safe
development, sustainable opportunities
for creating vibrant communities in
both urban and rural settings can exist.
Currently, one
in six homes is
at risk of
flooding
Ground source heat pumps
Swales
Green roof/water harvesting
Photovoltaics
Permeable paving
Underground flood storage
Sewage treatment
Reed beds
Extreme flood event level
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | BACA ARCHITECTS
We frequently collaborate with Dutch
architects and have had success with
our more landscape-based approach
to the vagaries of flooding challenges.
We reject the traditional approach of
continuously raising flood prevention
walls and look beyond the norm
to ensure security and improved
wellbeing across the board.
New innovations – the Tyram
Lakes Hotel and Spa
People are drawn to water for wellness
and relaxation, but the threat of
flooding is an oft-ignored potential
hindrance. One of our projects,
the Tyram Lakes Hotel and Spa, an
exemplar in both flood-resilient and
ecological design, recently secured
full planning permission. This project
unites the opportunity for regeneration
in the form of luxury ecotourism to
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on a site
which was historically used for the
extraction of sand and gravel.
The CEO and owner of the 65-acre
lake site and 100-acre woodland
area, Alex Pearce, had a clear vision.
He wanted to recreate the natural
beauty of the site and restore many
of its original ecosystems, all the while
developing an ecofriendly and luxury-
orientated hotel, spa and leisure resort.
Alex engaged our services, as flood
and floating pioneers, to help deliver
this vision.
With the majority of the site being
located off the beaten track, the
concept features 125 floating lakeside
lodges, coupled with 200 woodland
retreat lodges, a luxury 104-bedroomed
boutique hotel, a restaurant,
conference facilities, an indoor pool, a
leisure club, a superior spa, a state-of-
the-art gymnasium and a picturesque
wedding and party venue.
For the hotel, we met the potential
flood risk using a number of strategies.
For instance, all bedrooms are all
located on the first and second floors,
and the ground floor is above the risk
level identified by the Environment
Agency. Spaces at ground floor and
basement are constructed to be
robust and suitable for fast recovery
should a flood occur. The simplicity
of this approach allows flexibility for
innovation in the construction itself.
The building, while adopting a sinuous
profile and “wrapping” around
the lake, will use a high proportion
of timber construction and off-
site prefabrication. A “fabric-first”
approach to environmental design
will ensure that meeting on-site and
renewable energy requirements is not
too onerous.
As well as having a solar roof, the
lake itself will be used as a source of
heating and cooling. The building
will use a minimal amount of carbon
in both construction and operation,
helping to keep running costs low in a
future of uncertain energy supplies.
The lodges are a mix of designer
two, three and four-bedroom
accommodations which are designed
to offer luxury and comfort while
maximising energy conservation
and carbon reduction, and, where
practicable, to aspire to reaching
Passivhaus standards in these regards.
All roofs will be fitted with solar
panels and backed by an innovative
advanced technology and sustainability
Tyram Lakes Hotel and
Spa
Flooding is
one of the
greatest
environmental
threats in the
UK
29BACA ARCHITECTS |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
system designed by Immersa, which
will capture renewable sources of
energy and subsequently store them
in a state-of-the-art sustainable
battery. Energy will then be integrated
into smart power grids to deliver an
accessible and responsible electricity
supply across the entire project.
Our team also introduced Geyser
Thermal Energy Ltd into the project,
and they will be providing specialist
thermal energy solutions across the
Tyram Lakes project. Geyser have
recognised the lake as a potential
energy source that can help the project
to meet heating and hot water needs
for the lodges as well as the hotel and
leisure complex.
By making use of renewable energy
alongside their innovative heat pump
and heat recovery system, it will use
less than 90 per cent of the energy
of a standard boiler, and the water
treatment system will save over
10,000,000 litres of water every year.
Challenges for the next few
years
Flooding is the new fire. A consequence
of climate change is that flooding
from both rainfall and sea level rise
will increase in both intensity and
frequency. Protecting life, safety and
reducing damage to property can and
should be integrated into the planning
process and the building regulations.
Policy or the lack thereof comes in
three key areas:
»New building in the floodplain
»Existing buildings in the floodplain
»The replacement or upgrading of
existing dwellings in the floodplain
The least clarity in planning policy at
present is in the area of upgrading and
replacement, where local authorities
now insist on sequential tests for sites
already developed and in established
settlements.
The National Planning Policy Framework
needs to encourage the opportunity
for betterment and provide more
coherence on building standards
to enable householders to upgrade
with more confidence. For new-build
developments, a simple tweak to the
building regulations would ensure that
flood zone designation would trigger
resilience measures in construction. Mass
housing outside the floodplain could
be built unhindered, and only those at
potential risk would be upgraded.
By working with water, and providing
the necessary framework for safe
development, sustainable opportunities
for creating vibrant communities in
both urban and rural settings can exist.
Currently, one
in six homes is
at risk of
flooding
Ground source heat pumps
Swales
Green roof/water harvesting
Photovoltaics
Permeable paving
Underground flood storage
Sewage treatment
Reed beds
Extreme flood event level

www.baca.uk.com

This article was sponsored by Baca Architects. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster