Thames Estuary Partnership Talk

Fullers RC TEP Talk2015

In a series of summer seminars at University College London (UCL), London’s vital artery, the River Thames, is celebrated and explored.  Sponsored by Fuller’sIn Touch with the Thames is organised by The Thames Estuary Partnership (TEP) and open to anyone who would like to learn more about the tidal Thames, its estuary, flood-plains, tributaries, communities, and commerce.  Viewing the Thames as a system as much as a location, the lectures are intended to stimulate conversation and the sharing of new approaches to understanding, managing or enjoying the river’s urban and rural hinterland and similar riparian and maritime landscapes in the south-east.

Tuesday the 19th of May saw Richard Coutts of Baca presenting research along with Thames-side projects that utilise the practice’s expertise in water-related design.  Plans for the Creekside Educational Trust’s Visitors Centre in the Thames Estuary were discussed along with the proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel and an update on the award-winning LifE (Long-term Initiatives for flood Risk Environments) Project.  Building on the success of the UK’s first Amphibious House, Richard expanded on the Baca design and presented some of the practice’s forthcoming projects including next-generation Amphibious Houses, an Elevated House & designs for further Flood Resilient Homes.

We would also like to say a big thank you to London brewer, Fuller’s, for supplying delicious complimentary craft beers at the event.

Baca’s forthcoming book Aquatecture from RIBA Publishing can be purchased by clicking on this LINK.

Some of the practice’s water-related designs are presented in Built on Water from Braun Publishing, available for purchase via the following LINK.

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Water, Water Everywhere – Landscape Institute Event 25/04/15

Landscape Institute flyer RB talk lores

This weekend, the Landscape Insitute’s AGM in Norwich will be accompanied by a series of inspiring talks exploring the pivotal role that water has in its purer landscape form:  rivers.  A group of expert speakers will be sharing their experiences in dealing with rivers in various design fields and disciplines at The River Is Everywhere event.

Robert Barker of Baca will be discussing the practice’s designs for The Deal Ground in East Norwich, recently granted planning permission.  The Baca-led consortium of designers had to consider the site’s numerous constraints, not least the issues of flood-risk, ecology and access.  He will joined by Jenny Mant of The River Restoration Centre, Eoghan Sheils of SheilsFlynn and Richard Haine of Frog Environmental.

Following the seminar, Eoghan Sheils will guide a walk along the River Wensum.  If you would like to attend the event, please follow the link HERE to book tickets.

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Talking The Thames – GST 2015 Event

133-GST2015 Event

A big thank you to everyone who attended Baca’s Green Sky Thinking 2015 event , Treasuring/Taming the Thames, hosted by the Creekside Educational Centre in Deptford. The themes for this year’s Open City Green Sky Thinking Week, Green Infrastructure, Social Sustainability and Intelligent Design, saw a number of interesting topics explained.

Richard Coutts and Robert Barker expounded on Baca’s Amphibious House design and the latest designs for further can-float homes currently in the pipeline.  The proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel was discussed, and Bettina Kabutz of Creekside described the value of the Centre’s work and the local ecology.

Thanks also to RIBA Publishing, who brought along some of their latest titles, along with a preview of the practice’s forthcoming book, Aquatecture.  Group discussions on potential solutions to issues of designing with water in cities were very interesting, as were the views on how the next phase of Creekside’s expansion, in development with Baca, should proceed.  Thanks again to all, and we look forward to next year’s event.

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@ Soar Island (high-tech hub)


Baca’s submission proposes a high-tech mixed-use and cultural hub @ Soar Island, inspired by the former use – Flour Mills. The ‘mill wheels’ become the modern wheels of industry in this high tech hub and provide form to the pavilions, with a new cafe, a centre for start up businesses and residential flats interspersed into a vibrant waterside island setting.

United by the flows of movement through the site, the holistic strategy for the island builds on existing linkages that weave through the site to create unique settings for a variety of activities that become destinations in their own right.

Water is a key feature, with a waterside plaza, amphitheatre, canal boat moorings, revolving cafe cantilevered over the water and best of all, a innovative ‘horizontal water wheel’ – a unique feature.

Soar-Island©BacaArchitects-3 Soar-Island©BacaArchitects-2

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NERC RCUK Water Showcase 2015 Event

NERC - RCUK Watershowcase Event

The National Environment Research Council’s RCUK Water Showcase, ‘Water in Future Cities’, will take place at The Crystal, London on the 30th of June 2015.  The event will bring together policymakers, businesses and researchers to explore five distinctive visions for these cities of the future: Green Food & Garden Cityscapes, Flood-proof Cities, Smart Homes & City Networks, Cities & the Underworld and Community Transition Cities.

Baca Director, Robert Barker, will be running a workshop on Flood-proof cities with Dr. Jim Wharfe, one of the parallel workshops on Business of Water in Cities that will explore possible routes to realise these visions by:

  • Discovering the latest knowledge on infrastructure planning and business models.
  • Finding out about finance and funding available for innovation.
  • Selecting innovative water services or products for national competition.
  • Exploring water interdependencies.

The Research Councils UK-sponsored event will facilitate dialogue and collaborations between researchers and research users in industry, government and third sector.

If you would like to attend the event, please complete the registration by following this link.

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Treasuring / Taming the Thames

We are pleased to invite you to a Green Sky Thinking event on the 21st of April, 18:30 – 20:30, at the Creekside Disvcovery Centre, Deptford:

GST-invitation 2015

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New Building Regulations Confirmed at LABC

LABC Coutts

At the national Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Conference, the Department for Local Government (DCLG) announced that the new Building Regulations were to be rubber-stamped by the Queen this week, coming into effect shortly afterwards.  The move is part of the Coalition Government’s implementation of deregulation that will see the Code for Sustainable Homes, amongst others, absorbed into the Statutory Instrument of Building Regulations.

Invited to speak at the conference, Baca Director, Richard Coutts, observed: “What is clear from the Q&A session is there has been some restructuring, and from DCLG’s own comments, the new documents will take a bit of getting used to – in fact, they suggest reading the glossary first to understand the new definitions and terms so that guidance laid out in the documents makes full sense.  The long-term objective is to provide a single, more simplified reference point for the building industry, which DCLG are reporting could save the construction industry up to £100million a year.”

During the conference, the Practice discussed the need to incorporate flood-resilient guidance and Buildings Regulations for floating domestic structures that are currently absent – perhaps in a new Part W or a subsection within the current statutory instrument.

Talks by LABC’s Rob Burridge (Warranty) highlighted some points to reduce latent defects in buildings for Designers, Engineers and Inspectors, with Richard Twine’s review of the new standards serving as a good wake-up call for the new changes that will arrive this April.

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