Newsletter - Winter 2008
Goldenbank - Nothing 'standard' about this service!
CSA Architects' £15 million pound plan for new homes on the site of the current Pitch 'n' Putt course at Goldenbank, Falmouth, has won many a newspaper headline in recent months. Less well known, however, is its status as a textbook example of a complete, comprehensive service the like of which no other Cornish architectural practice can supply.
In close liaison with their client, Plymouth-based, Magily Ltd, CSA Architects have submitted a scheme involving 107 new homes, a community hall and a convenience store. The proposed residential units include 43 affordable homes - 40 per cent of the total, in line with council policy.
This followed a major public consultation exercise masterminded by CSA, prompting this comment from managing director Justin Dodge: "We have demonstrated that the involvement of the public was anything but a going-through-the-motions exercise, which is so often the suspicion with big development projects."
Most significantly of all from the client's viewpoint, he explained: "We haven't just done the basic architectural services for this project. We have managed and co-ordinated the external consultants, undertaken a full environmental impact assessment - with that capability in-house - and handled landscape architecture and urban design.
"The master planning services were provided in-house and we have completed the full planning application, including financial viability assessment for negotiations with the planning authority. All this emphatically demonstrates that we go far beyond the usual scope of works provided by a standard architectural practice. No other architectural practice in Cornwall can do all this."
At a public exhibition on site, some visitors expressed their concern over the loss of the pitch 'n' putt course.
But it was explained that the background is the severe shortage of available land in the Falmouth area to meet the large demand for affordable housing in line with Government policy and the Regional Spatial Strategy. This requires an additional 4,000 houses over the next 15 to 20 years.
Greenbank - Taking tourism to 'the next level'
CSA Architects have produced eye-catching plans for a major development at one of Cornwall's oldest hotels, designed to help take Cornish tourism to the "next level." The stunning scheme for the Greenbank - a Falmouth waterfront icon - includes four "fingers" pointing out into the water.
The finger-style proposal succeeds in fitting green-roofed car parking and luxurious, two-storey hotel suites below the road level of neighbouring Stratton Terrace.
All told, the scheme would create 28 hotel suites and 16 new superior quality rooms. The plans also include 53 additional parking spaces connected to the hotel's existing, underground car park.
The plan sets the scene for a new kind of tourism in the resort, recognising the industry's changing profile - with growing marina and cruise activity bringing a new kind of visitor with more disposable income, but also much higher expectations.
"Breaking up the development into four fingers pointing out into the water reduces both the visual and environmental impact on the surrounding area," says CSA Architects managing director Justin Dodge. "It is a creative approach, and visitors will see it has enabled us to preserve and even enhance the views from Stratton Terrace and Flushing. "
Camel Trail - Winning design at Wadebridge
New high-quality public conveniences and a gateway entrance to the Camel Trail in Wadebridge will create a new focal point for the local community and visitors alike, thanks to a winning design from CSA Architects.
CSA were among a number of practices invited to submit concept design ideas to the Camel Trail Partnership (CTP). The practice held an in-house design competition and submitted a range of ideas, leading to their appointment to develop a working scheme in close collaboration with the CTP and North Cornwall District Council (NCDC).
Drawing from the strengths of the natural and built environment of the trail corridor, the new toilet block will be created from gabion baskets filled with local materials representing the Camel Trail and its historic connections to the mining industry.
The new Trail Gateway will create a new public open space in a strategic location of Wadebridge with a strong visual appearance from the town centre. It provides a safe and generous area to rest, re-group and start the journey on the trail. The landscaping features and toilet building work hand in hand to provide an educational interactive Gateway Facility to the Camel Trail.
The project is another prestigious feather in the CSA cap, with the CTP comprising the town and parish councils and chambers of commerce plus statutory bodies such as NCDC, Cornwall County Council and Padstow Harbour Commissioners.
Falmouth Youth Club - A triumph for hard work and perseverance
Six years' hard work by a small army of local people has borne fruit with delivery of a magnificent new community centre for Falmouth - the Dracaena Centre. CSA Architects have worked closely with Falmouth Youth Club - chaired by CSA director Chris Smith - to make it possible.
The £1.3m centre will continue the previous Youth Club activities undertaken at this site and expand into many other areas. The building boasts a smart new community hall, community café, art room, quiet room and four state of the art changing rooms to serve the surrounding playing fields. The fields have been radically upgraded with improved drainage and surfacing.
Chris Smith praised Cowlin Construction, all the consultants concerned with the design and delivery of the project and its funders - who had all who had shown faith in the project over many years.
"There were times when some of us thought this project was never going to happen," he admitted. "To secure grant aid for the complete cost of the build was not always an easy task, but we are very grateful for all the help and assistance we have received from the Objective One team, Sport England, the Football Foundation and Carrick District Council."
CSA Social - All work and no play . . .
CSA staff are nothing if not active away from their workplace - as three social events from last summer ("summer?") demonstrate.
Okay, the weather was record-breakingly awful, but the Gods did smile on us for our trip to the Minack Theatre. A rare clear evening greeted us as we perched ourselves on the near-vertical granite terraces to watch the boisterous Victorian farce "Charley's Aunt." Flasks of coffee, wine and sandwiches were passed around in time-honoured fashion as we became absorbed in the fast-paced plot of secret love and mistaken identities.
Godrevy Beach was the scene of our sandcastle competition. With the tide out, sand flat and sun out (again), sand "sculptures" gradually took shape - from pasties to the spectacular tower of Babel. All had one hour to be completed before we adjourned to the Godrevy Café for an excellent buffet and the award of prizes . . . and one last look out at the sculptures before the incoming tide did for them.
The office fishing expedition had no luck at its first stop, just off Fraggle Rock lighthouse, but then it was on to new grounds and the hooking of a brief flurry of mackerel.
A brief and some might say overly enthusiastic demonstration of fish euthanasia and gutting entertained both Ben and the children on board as we headed back to port. A quick pint in the quayside for some, followed by a few more for others, allowed the fisherman's tales to start as to how big the fish REALLY were!
Code Assessors -'At cutting edge of design'
Congratulations to Justin Dodge and Susan Wieck, managing director and associate respectively of CSA Architects, on becoming accredited assessors for the Government's new Code For Sustainable Homes.
The code, including assessment of a home's performance against nine sustainability criteria, provides a framework within which builders can be recognised for going beyond current Building Regulations on energy efficiency.
"It works by awarding new homes a one to six-star rating to measure their overall environmental impact," explains Justin. "All new dwellings must now be built to a minimum of code one. Code five is carbon neutral and code six is effectively carbon negative or True Carbon Zero."
He adds: "Our appointment emphasises that CSA Architects is at the cutting edge of design for environmentally sustainable homes in an era when efficiency and conservation are of unprecedented importance. Not only can we undertake assessments on behalf of anyone, but this in-depth knowledge and expertise further enhances our capability to design to such standards as pragmatically as possible."
Restronguet Point - Contemporary creekside chic
Two distinct architectural languages - a modern design philosophy towards the water with a more conservative elevation facing the road - were utilised in CSA Architects' design for a luxurious replacement dwelling, overlooking the creek at Restronguet Point. The practice worked closely with the local planning authority, parish and district councils to secure planning approval.
Watson Marlow - CSA in convergence 'first'
In Cornwall's first development with EU convergence funding, work has begun on the new tubing factory extension for Watson-Marlow Pumps Ltd at Bickland Water Road, Falmouth. It will provide 2,000m2 of high-spec industrial space, with associated offices and training rooms.
Once complete, the shell will be fitted out with cutting-edge extrusion equipment. This will incorporate specialist clean rooms to manufacturer the high-quality precision tubing associated with the Watson-Marlow pumps, which are supplied globally to the pharmaceutical industry.
Csa architects are lead consultants for the construction project, which is part of a £7.3m expansion for Watson-Marlow. The building will be completed to BREEAM "Excellent" standard and is being assisted by SWRDA.[print this page]