Baca Architects submits scheme for floating eco-wellness resort

by Megan Whitby | 25 Feb 2021
This will be a resort where you can be as social or secluded as you like; a retreat for all generations
– Richard Coutts

Baca Architects has submitted a scheme to transform an unused flooded quarry and surrounding land into an eco-wellness resort, centred on waterside living and water-based recreation.

In development is a response to pandemic travel bans, which are driving growth in the UK holiday market.

The 80-hectare Ashwicken Lake site is situated in East Anglia, UK, and features woodlands, wetlands and a 1sq km lake. A £35m (US$49.4m, €40,7m) investment by developer, Norfolk Farm Leisure, would see the site reimagined as a destination where 'outstanding architectural elements', blend with the tranquil natural landscape.

Guides would be guided on a journey of reconnection with nature, ecological diversity and wellbeing.

At its heart, the resort would feature the UK’s first floating clubhouse, with a luxury spa and swimming pool, a café, restaurant, lakeside pool facilities and alfresco waterside dining.

Accommodation would be provided in 132 lodges, located on or near the water’s edge – each with a mooring.

These would be arranged in clusters, interspersed with new planting, trees, follies and water taxi jetties to create character across the resort.

The resort would also have 22 treehouses built in woodlands, while a floating island of 40 low-level accommodation units would be located at one side of the lake, with their design inspired by water lily leaves.

Richard Coutts, Principal of Baca Architects, told CLAD: “People have always been attracted to water for relaxation, exercise and rejuvenation.

“At Ashwicken Lake, these life-enhancing qualities will be supported by a design that will reinforce the engagement of both guests and visitors in an exceptional experience. This will be a resort where you can be as social or secluded as you like; a resort for all generations.”

A range of water-based pursuits would be available for visitors, including rowing, kayaking and paddleboarding, as well as opportunities for open water swimming.

For those preferring to stay on land, tennis courts and areas for ball games and archery have also been designed into the landscape, along with a climbing wall and children’s play area.

All facilities would be open to both guests and day visitors.

All buildings would be zero-carbon – in use and production – employing materials of low-bodied energy, high levels of thermal insulation and building airtightness, natural ventilation and off-site prefabrication, as well as on-site energy generation and waste treatment.

The sourcing and durability of materials used, potential for recycling and the distance to site were all considered within the design.

Space has been allocated on the site for a solar array and the lake will be utilised as a source of renewable energy.

Areas of nature conservation would deliver a biodiversity net gain and the entire site would be a car-free environment with a focus on walking, cycling and transport by electric water taxis.

Baca Architects 
Related stories
10 Jun 2019

‘Peninsula of tranquility’: Baca Architects to design spa and hotel with floating lodges in new eco resort

18 Dec 2018

Plans for floating eco-resort and spa in Yorkshire given the go-ahead

Baca Architects has submitted a scheme to transform an unused flooded quarry and surrounding land into an eco-wellness resort, centred on waterside living and water-based recreation. In development is a response to pandemic travel bans, which are driving growth in the UK holiday market. The 80-hectare Ashwicken Lake site is situated in East Anglia, UK, and features woodlands, wetlands and a 1sq km lake. A £35m (US$49.4m, €40,7m) investment by
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The vision for the UK-based destination is to create an immersive natural retreat offering a waterside wellness sanctuary
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