It has been an exciting and busy few years at NCA and while almost all our projects are out to tender we have a tiny window to communicate with you and share a little insight to life at NCA.
Neil celebrated his 60th birthday in Paris in late 2021 and in typical architectural fashion feels that he is just getting into his stride. A big party would have been nice but few were keen to meet up so soon after the pandemic, however he is always happiest searching long forgotten corners of foreign cities for obscure architectural gems.
As some of you may be aware, NCA left London in the autumn of 2008 to set up practice in Hastings. In 2011 we moved along the coast to a grand and bright office in Brighton where we have been ever since. We love being in the North Laine and above the bustle of Brighton’s main shopping artery on North Street. From our desks we can look out to the fabulous and eccentric Royal Pavilion.
We are very pleased to welcome Rebecca Birch back who has been with NCA on and off for 13 years. She arrived as a Part 2 assistant, qualified as an architect and since has balanced architecture with her family of three. Rebecca also finds time to make and sell soap as a side hustle and occasionally goes diving too. She has been full time again since 2021.
NCA enjoy long lasting relationships with our clients. Our very first client approached us way back in 1997. The project we designed and constructed for them was an apartment conversion in a mansion block in Maida Vale. Tragically it was destroyed in a fire only a few weeks after completion. Roll on to 2019 when the Long House in Somerset, our 4th house for these clients, was completed. Pride of place in the double height entrance hall is a circular oak table that we salvaged from the smoldering remains of their first apartment. Long House has gained extensive international exposure in the architectural press and was runner up House of The Year in the British Homes Awards 2020.
We are fortunate to have an eclectic and wide-range of projects at NCA, and we have been working with the Hastings Adventure Golf for a number of years. The latest project being the Pirate Golf Enclosure Building which received planning approval in May 2022. The building will be prominently sited on the beach, below Hastings castle and will include a 1st floor restaurant with panoramic views along the East Sussex coast as well as a roof finished in beach shingle and beach tolerant planting. You can view its design development on our website which is where the original “Cloud” proposal will live forever since in reality it was perhaps too exciting to gain popular approval.
Luisa Sommerer has also returned to NCA this year, having started as a year out student back in 2018. She has since completed her architectural studies and worked briefly for Morton Scarr and Victoria Holland Architecture before returning to NCA in the summer of 2022. Luisa is proudly Bavarian however she loves her life in the UK where she has lived since 2013, initially studying at the Macintosh in Glasgow and then Greenwich School of Architecture.
Another East Sussex project which was completed in 2022 is the John Bright Foundation, a toy museum and theatre fashioned from the outbuildings of an old farm in an idyllic rural spot just outside Hastings. We attended the launch, which was a starry affair with speeches from more than a dozen high profile celebrities including Dame Judy Dench, Stephen Fry and Jeremy Irons.
Several NCA designed houses are due to commence construction in early 2023 including our first zero carbon house in Hertfordshire. Zero carbon means that the building generates more energy on site that it takes from the grid. Red House includes the full gamut of passive and applied environmental features including PV panels and battery storage, a ground source heat pump, green roofs and rainwater harvesting.
And finally we also have 2 bulldogs in the office. New arrival Boo has recently taken over as head of security, and our head of PR Zélie, who can mostly be found networking at the Basketmakers.
That's it for 2022, wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!