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Ben Fitzgerald

Director, Core Marine

Ocean Engineer. Sailor. Australian. Naturally sarcastic and a tad sceptical until proven otherwise. Passionate about the sustainable development of the oceans and coastal regions.

As director at CoreMarine, Ben thrives off being part of the shift into new and exciting ocean developments. Core Marine provide engineering solutions that unlock the ocean space as a sustainable resource: be it underwater restaurants and hotels that delight and educate, floating offshore wind providing clean energy, or offshore aquaculture to feed a growing population.

Implementing this, partnerships and cross-industry collaboration have been key – there’s nothing more rewarding than bringing together a disparate bunch of brains from different industries, pulling a ‘blue’ thread through their combined experience to solve “impossible” problems. That’s why Core Marine think partnerships are so important. CoreMarine is a small company yet we can deliver anything.

Currently, CoreMarine is busy engineering the world’s largest offshore aquaculture facility and developing and designing floating offshore wind parks. Most recently Core Marine concluded the construction and installation of the world’s largest underwater restaurant – under – located at the southern-most tip of Norway.

Richard Coutts

ARB, FRIBA, Director, Baca Architects

Richard Coutts is one of Europe’s foremost architects specialising in flood resilience and climate adaptive architecture. Richard is passionate about sustainability and developed the UK’s first fully flood resistant amphibious house in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, which featured on Grand Designs.

Founded in 2003, Baca Architects is internationally known for delivering industry ‘firsts’. They are completing the UKs first multiple unit flood resilient housing scheme in Stratford Upon Avon, alongside developing the first flood resilient community in Hull. Their portfolio includes Tyram Lakes, an eco-lodge, hotel, spa in South Yorkshire, an under-water hotel for Hobart, Tasmania, and several major dockland regeneration schemes in and around the UK. Richard also developed the masterplan for the redevelopment of the UNESCO world heritage site at Liverpool Docks and is the co-author of the RIBA-published Aquatecture.

Baca has won numerous awards including Urban Design Group Practice of the Year 2016/17 and Richard was recognised in 2018 as an RIBA Fellow for his work within flood resilient design implementation in the UK. He is a member of RIBA’s Policy Team and part of DEFRA’s Core Cities Flood Advisory Group. Richard is also is a regular speaker and commentator on the opportunity of waterfront development.

Koen Olthuis

CEO/Principal Architect at Waterstudio

When Koen founded Waterstudio in 2003 it was the first office 100% focused on floating architecture and urban planning beyond the waterfront. “Blue is Better” is the back bone of his vision and concepts and stands for the strong belief that cities can improve their performance by using water for space, flexibility and safety. He is the co-author of the book FLOAT! (Flexible Land On Aquatic Territory) and shares his ideas through lectures around the globe. He advices municipalities and governments who want to take their first step into the water to combat the effects of climate change and growing urbanization.

He graduated at the faculty of architecture and the faculty of industrial design at Delft University of Technology. Since 2011 he is member of the Flood Resilience Group at UNESCO-IHE, the water university in Delft where he introduced the topic of upgrading wetslums. In his vision today’s designers are an essential part of the climate change generation and should start to enhance their perspective on urban components to become dynamic instead of static. His solution called City Apps, are floating urban components that add a certain function to the existing static grid of a city. He co-established the Urban Water Laboratory to research existing urban water as building ground to offer space for new density, offering worldwide opportunities for cities to respond flexibly to climate change and urbanization.

Ankie Stam

Partner Architect at Waterstudio

Ankie joined the Waterstudio team in 2005 . Waterstudio is the world’s first office 100% focused on floating architecture and urban planning beyond the waterfront.

Ankie graduated at the faculty of architecture at Delft University of Technology. Since 2019 she is one of the director of the Built On Water organization. BOW combines the architecture, legal and engineering consultancy of three international companies under one brand

She has used her social skills to upgrade neighborhoods in Rotterdam with a bottom up approach which has been highly appreciated by the city’s Mayor.

Ankie initiated in 2017 the Urban Water Laboratory. This think tank focus their research on existing urban water as building ground to offer space for new density, offering worldwide opportunities for cities to respond flexibly to climate change and urbanization.