Our Blog

August 16th, 2018

Designing for Multigenerational Living

The number of multigenerational households in the UK is growing rapidly. Between 2009 and 2014 there was a 38% growth in this sector. Data prepared by @NHBC suggests that 6.8% of UK households are multigenerational, which is roughly equivalent to 1.8 million households.

Not everyone either wants or is able to move house when their family circumstances change. This can require an existing family home to be converted into a multigenerational one. Few standard house types are suited to easy conversion and even fewer have been designed with this in mind. The key is built in flexibility. That may mean a suitable spatial configuration, adequate structural redundancy and service connections for a future extension over the garage, rooms in the roof or a rear/side extension. Alternatively it can mean internal reorganisation to allow a larger space to be subdivided or a master bedroom and ensuite to be converted into a self contained annex. There are a multitude of approaches that can be taken as long as the intention is established early enough in the design process.

Illustrated below are two competition winning schemes that we have developed around multigenerational living. The first is the SAM House, based around the ‘Seven Ages of Man.’ It combines all of the strategies outlined above whilst also delivering semi-detached living in what appears to be a detached house.


The second was a proposal for a series of adaptations and extensions to a traditional home that enabled enhanced multigenerational living.

The ideas behind the house are captured in a hypothetical interview with the homeowner in 2050: 

What are some of your favourite memories?

What memories I have. We bought the house in 2006. House prices were over inflated in those days and we could only afford the house because of the partially completed fitout. We also rented the top floor until we gave each of the boys their own room in the roof. They loved being up there with a floor to themselves.

We have always loved the flexibility of the cavenous master suite. It was great to be able to retreat into our own space. I particularly loved sitting out on the roof terrace,discretely watching the boys playing in the garden below.

We regularly had friends to stay and put the guest room through its paces. We had been unsure the double entry bathroomwould work but found our visitors, and for many years my mother, loved it.

We had some great diner parties in those days. We loved showing off the telescopic dining room. When all the kids had gone off to university we realised just how important it was to be able to shrink and not just enlarge the dining room. Rattling around that space would have probably made us feel like it was time to move. So glad we didn’t.

What else did you like about the house?

I loved being in the kitchen when the kids were younger. They would lounge in thesnugplaying with their toys. As they got older we built a workstation and they would do their home work there. Eventually, when I set up my business, I used it as my office. It really was the heart of the house. I still love the way you can flow through the permeable ground floor. So much nicer then those old open plan layouts!

In 2015 food prices went through the roof. That was when we really prioritised cultivating the front garden allotment. What a great use of what was otherwise a waste of space.

In 2018 temperatures really soared and the way air was drawn through the house made such a difference. These days I realise that it’s the way the house works, rather then how it looks, that really matters… Those integrated systems must have saved us a small fortune over the years.

What about the future?

Well it looks like I’m going to be here indefinitely. I am moving up into the flat in the roof by myself now.  There is a lifted being fitted to make things easier for me. My eldest son is so looking forward to moving back in, this time with his own family! It really has been a house for life.

This is the critical issue. We must design houses for Life…..

 

August 16th, 2018

Championing Quality Construction Information

We were pleased to see that research undertaken by @NHBC as part of their Construction Quality Reviews (CQR’s) is revealing that significant numbers of on site defects and abortive construction work could be prevented if the construction industry, in particular #housebuilders and #designandbuildcontractors, commissioned quality working drawings from their designers.

At Snug we are committed to producing appropriate working drawings that are fit for purpose and good value to our clients. This is not a one size fits all situation. Every project has its own requirements. A complex, contemporary and bespoke design being built by an in experienced contractor requires considerably more design information than a traditional design being built by an experienced house builder. Nonetheless, the drive to minimal expenditure and minimum information is a drive to the bottom.

We are advocating an industry standard for working drawings. This would allow clients and contractors to set appropriate standards of drawing and levels of detail so that tendering designers are clear on expectations. The current absence of any agreed standards or level of detail at tender stage means all architects have to price low. The result is a downwards pressure to prepare the least possible amount of information. This is in no ones interest.

We are asking organisations like the NHBC to help us prepare a universal set of standards for working drawings, covering minimum levels of production information that are properly coordinated and communicate critical details, quality standards and specification.

We believe the impact this could have on reducing costs to the construction industry could be huge. Clients benefit because tender returns are lower when the tender documentation is clear and risks reduced. Contractors benefit from a reduction in defective or abortive work. Architects benefit because their work is appropriately valued.

August 6th, 2018

Siliver Hill Antiques Market gets underway

We are delighted that civic chiefs have confirmed Winchester’s historic Antique Market will now become a hub for theatre, music and the arts, in the first redevelopment under the Silver Hill 2 scheme. Having been part of the team developing the wider masterplan we are pleased to have also been part of the first steps towards seeing the area rejuvenated.

Officially known as the Central Winchester Regeneration Project (CWR), the scheme aims to revamp the area surrounding the building, with the improvement of the Antique Market being one of Winchester City Council’s short-term goals.

The newly-formed ‘Nutshell Arts’ Community Interest Company plans to re-brand the venue as ‘The Nutshell’ and offer it as an accessible place for creatives to use for rehearsals, workshops, exhibitions and small-scale productions; alongside resident companies the Discarded Nut Theatre Company and ENCORE Youth Theatre. Richard Harrison of Snug Architects worked with them to develop design ideas and ensure the space within the venue can be fully accessible.

See http://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/news/16391694.first-of-silver-hill-2-revamps-as-deal-confirmed-at-antique-market/

and

http://www.winchester.gov.uk/news/2018/jul/former-antique-market-set-to-become-arts-venue-run-by-and-for-independent-creatives-and-the-local-community

July 9th, 2018

Revealing the Sub\Urbia House – A super dense prototype terraced house

At Snug we are always actively seeking to develop and refine new housing typologies that will help to solve the #housing #housingcrisis. As a company, our mission is to ‘create great places and prosper people’. This year we  have developed a new prototype high density terraced house. We decided to submit it to @BritHomesAwards Sunday Times readers’ choice home competition. It didn’t exactly fit the brief and so, perhaps not entirely surprisingly, it was not shortlisted. In our humble opinion the concept remains a thoroughly ground breaking approach to high density terraced housing. Now that the competition is over we are pleased to be able to reveal the design.

The Sub\Urbia House.

In summary, the Sub\Urbia House delivers high density housing at over 100dph without forfeiting the much loved character of suburbia. Our aim is to create a single house type that contains all steps in the housing ladder. High density homes where all ages, including families, would love to live.

Sub\

\Urbia

 

The Design Philosophy

We wish to live at low density but we must build at high density if we are to solve the housing crisis. To do this we need to build at urban densities in excess of 75dph. The problem is, British people don’t generally like living at higher densities. We love our houses and we love having a home with its own front door. The Sub\Urbia House squares this circle.

The proposal has the appearance and feel of the suburban places British people love, but at a density well in excess of 75dph. The Sub\Urbia House delivers 100dph without compromising any of the things we love about suburbia.

The key idea – We live between walls. The traditional terrace has party walls side to side. The Sub\Urbia House has both side and rear party walls. This unlocks the potential for an increased density and, as a result, it creates a two faced typology. One face, providing a pair of three bedroom family townhouses faces the more generous public realm, akin to places like Accordia and creates a modern suburbia. The other face provides a one bed city pad and 2no. two bedroom duplex units facing onto a more urban street. The result is a whole new urban condition, what we are calling urbia.

 

Our intention is to create the ultimate mixed tenure neighbourhood. Each 10m x 20m component contains 1 one bed, 2 two beds and 2 three bed homes. Five homes are provided within the plot. In this one typology we provide for the whole housing ladder to live. This results in the ultimate sustainable community where entry level flats coexist with aspirational family homes. Sub\Urbia would be the kind of place everyone would love to call home.

In addition to providing every size of home needed to climb the housing ladder the Sub\Urbia House provides plenty of proportionate outside amenity spaces, well related to living accommodation and daylight. The idea is both simple and sophisticated. The Sub\Urbia House takes a traditional Georgian townhouse and mews, retains the front garden and hedge, pulls back and stacks the mews, lifts the rear garden to the roof and pumps up the density.

The Sub\ House is a three bed family home that comes with a generous roof garden, dual aspect living room and private balconies off the bedrooms. This includes front garden located off the master bedroom, efficiently located above, and sheltering, the bin and bike store to form a covered porch.

The Sub\ House comes in two configurations. It can either be a generous family home with ground floor kitchen diner off a secure parking court/play space with generous living room and roof garden on the top floor or, alternatively, it can provide a live/work home with a ground floor studio space and top floor kitchen/dining/living space.

The \Urbia homes are provided with a generous balcony to each unit which overlook the street and evoke a multi-level sense of inhabitation prevalent to an urban street scene.

\Urbia is a ground floor entry level city pad, our fastest selling typology, with its private covered balcony/porch. Adjacent to this is the entrance to a pair of two bed duplex units. Alongside is a secure bin/bike store and electric carshare garage.

Urbia\ is about starting out and moving up the housing ladder. It is cost effective, efficient, urban. Sub\ is about settling down. It is elegant, stylish, spacious and sylvan. Together, both sides of the Sub\Urbia House create the perfect neighborhood.

As an urban layout it is flexible and can create multiple combinations of streets and squares. The intention is for every neighbourhood to be Sub\Urbia.

This is a concept that builds upon the nation’s innovative history of dwelling. So many variations of terraces exist, be it a Scottish tenement, a Tyneside flat, a Yorkshire back to back, a Mansion and Mews in London or a post war duplex. Sub/Urbia intends to evoke in some way all these typologies as inspiration for a new way of living that seeks to solve the housing crisis. It is high density land use without the high density character!

Construction

This is intended to be a mass produced typology that can be delivered by the traditional British construction industry as well as more innovative developers, willing to trail modern methods of construction. It is important to note that most domestic scale buildings, built between stacking party walls, can be built using any and all forms of construction.  The right choice is a matter of procurement and supply chains.

Depending on the number of units being commissioned the design is intended to be constructed either using off site  fabrication or, if volumes are low, using traditional forms of construction. Importantly this is not a frame building and it can be constructed using standard lintels and traditional materials. We are passionate about building houses that last. Speed of construction must not trump long life.

The superstructure for the first three floors is proposed as CLT and the primary façade material is brick slips, allowing speed/off site fabrication. It could just as easily be masonry and brick or blockwork and render.  More distinctive materials are then proposed for the expressive top floor living rooms and inset balconies. These are illustrated as zinc but could be timber or fibre cement panels. Our current cladding of choice is burnt larch. It is beautiful and does not require maintenance.

Internally the house provides efficient modern living with positive inside/outside connections, despite the single aspect configuration. The top floor living room is a delight. Lofty, dual aspect onto private amenity space and enjoying a wood bring stove. This is everyone’s dream garden room but up on the roof.

To find out more about this highly innovative house type please call the office. It is a highly versatile concept that could be applied or adapted to almost any modern housing development.

 

KEY PROJECT DATA

 Floor Areas:

3 bed townhouse – 113m2

2 bed duplex – 64.6 and 70.2m2

1 bed city pad – 40.3m2

GIA – 455.5m2 per 200m2 plot.

NIA – 401.1m2 per 200m2 plot providing over 200% land utilization.

 

Build costs:

Component cost – £730,125

Total build cost for 20 units – £2,920,500 (excludes economies of scale)

Average unit cost – £146,000/unit

Construction cost – £1,603/m2

 

Density:

Plot Density – 250 dwellings per hectare within the plot or 550 bedrooms/hectare

Place Density – 100 dwelling per hectare once roads and communal landscape accounted for or 220 bedrooms/hectare

 

The Exhibition Boards:

The Sunday Times Readers’ Choice Award_P869_4xA3 Presentation

June 25th, 2018

RIBA Smart Practice Conference 2018

We are pleased to be supporting and contributing to this years RIBA Smart Practice Conference @RIBA. This year the conference is titled Value Added: Making Design Quality Count and will be focusing on’design quality, emphasising the discernible benefits of better communicating its value to clients and the wider public.’ Snug’s Design Director, Paul Bulkeley, will be speaking.

 

To find out more and book tickets visit:

https://www.architecture.com/whats-on/riba-smart-practice-conference-2018

 

June 7th, 2018

Please to be published in @RIBAJ

We were pleased to see an article on the housing crisis written by our founding director, Paul Bulkeley, published in this months RIBA Journal. The article raises serious issues that we hope both the industry and government will consider carefully. @RIBAJ

June 7th, 2018

Shortlisted for the British Construction Industry Awards

We are delighted that our Milford-on-sea Beach Huts project has been shortlisted for the Climate Resilience Project of the Year by the British Construction Industry Awards #BCIawards.  This is a significant award because it recognises the environmental significance of the project as an example of inhabited infrastructure.

June 2nd, 2018

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Great new video of our Milford Beach Huts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1X1rN2aacE

 

June 2nd, 2018

The Wall of Answered Prayer update

Watch the June update on The Wall of Answered Prayer @the wall2020. https://www.facebook.com/TheWallofAnsweredPrayer/videos/2036098573323038/

It is getting exciting now. Looks like we should be able to see the land next month and start the process of moulding our concept design to the land. Whoopee, can’t wait!

May 30th, 2018

Perseverance pays

We won planning permission today for an exciting infill development in Portsmouth. It has been a long game…only took 4 years to finally get approval at committee! Perseverance clearly pays.

It is a great scheme and we are pleased to see that the negotiation with the LPA was worthwhile. Below are images of how the scheme developed through the negotiation.

Aerial view of originally submitted scheme pre-negotiation

Aerial view of the final approved scheme post-negotiation