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

Monday, July 9th, 2018

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.




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!


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.



 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



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

Snug are recruiting a Part 1 Architectural Assistant

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Snug are looking to recruit a new Part 1 Architectural Assistant. If you are looking to work in a dynamic and energetic design led practice and don’t fancy London come and join the team at Snug. We love what we do and guarantee a wide range of experience in a supportive environment.

Please send in your CV/Portfolio to

Snug is Recruiting an Office Manager

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

Snug Architects are looking to recruit an Office Manager. The practice is growing and we are looking for someone to support the directors in the administration of the office.


The office manager will help to ensure the office runs efficiently and effectively. They will actively lead in the creation and implementation of office systems under the oversight of the directors. They will provide support to the management team and fee earning staff in the delivery of their responsibilities. They will also be responsible for the day-to-day management of the premises. In addition, they will maintain a welcoming and presentable office environment and assist in the broader promotion of the practice.

The position will be based at our offices in Totton and can be either full or part-time with minimum hours of 10.00-2.30pm, Monday-Friday.

Snug is a dynamic and energetic architects practice with a strong commitment to design quality and ethical business practice. More about the practice and our culture can be found on our website and blog.

We would be grateful if you could forward this to those you think might be interested and suitable. If you or someone you know is interested please email with an expression of interest and we will forward a full Job Description.

Snug shortlisted for the RIBA South West Awards

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

We are delighted that Woodlands has been shortlisted in the RIBA South West Awards 2017 alongside entrants that include Eric Parry, WilkinsonEyre, Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios, Mole Architects, Hawkins Brown, Glenn Howells and near neighbours Design Engine, AR Design Studio and Strom Architects. Woodlands is one of only two housing schemes shortlisted. The project comprising 17 spacious later living apartments for PegasusLife and was constructed by Midas Construction. The design concept is informed by the geometry of the prominent corner site and the surrounding mature trees in Canford Cliffs, Poole. The scheme develops our ideas for ‘shrink wrapped function’ with the juxtaposition between the gently undulating skins of brick and timber contextualising the scheme within its built and landscape context. We’re very proud of the scheme which has been delivered by an excellent team and, looking at the high calibre of other entries, we are amongst good company. You can see all the entries at:

Footy for lunch today

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016


Its a lovely sunny day, anyone fancy joining us for footy in the park. That’s what we call work…..

Thoughts on Winchester Station Approach

Thursday, May 26th, 2016


In the red corner, Hopkins Architects with their urban design prowess. In the blue corner, Design Engine, the local team, modern architecture at it’s best. Ding ding, let the battle commence…. What is clear both propositions are towering giants, the effort has been huge, but someone has to be knocked out, it’s going to hurt. Perhaps it was better not to have fought at all? May the best titan win.

‘Building the Dream’

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Our project called Point Pleasant on the river Hamble will soon be featured on the Channel 4 show ‘Building the Dream‘. The show will air on the 2nd episode of the new series which will go out on the 7th of June at 9pm on More 4.

We hope you enjoy the show!



modern house refurbishment snug architects


DSC_0474 Edited








Milford-On-Sea beach hut plans go on show

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

150810 - Public presentation boards - Ply

Milford-on-sea beach huts options


Milford-On-Sea- beach huts contemporary

P611 - Curved ramp - view from low prom

Our initial ideas and options for the Milford-On-Sea beach huts were presented to the public at a well attended exhibition at the local community centre. Over 600 people attended the one day event. A copy of the exhibition and video of our presentation as well as a copy of the questionnaire can be found at –

We were very encouraged with the positive response and productive comments and suggestions. Once all the comments are processed they will form a helpful basis on which we will progress the design. We were also delighted to see the proposals made the BBC news. See –

Accordia – Revisiting a great place to live

Friday, May 29th, 2015





I had the opportunity to call in on Accordia recently, the first housing scheme to win the Sterling Prize. This is one of those rare modern housing developments that has improved with age. Hugely impressed.

The community was clearly vibrant, the landscape well established and the houses weathering beautifully. This was a place I could happily call home.

Perseverance pays

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014


Snug House 1

Snug Architects have won planning permission for the ultimate snug house. The two bedroom detached dwelling, located on the edge of the Winchester Conservation Area, finally won planning permission after 7 planning applications and 3 appeals. It really is an example of how perseverance pays in the end. Despite the obvious frustrations for all involved, there is no doubt that the design improved with each iteration. The end result is a beautiful example of contemporary contextualism and balances respect for context with creative contemporary design.

The site is highly constrained, located on the site of an existing double garage, is in a prominent position within the Conservation Area and is surrounded by homogenous Edwardian properties. It was a real challenge to balance the scale and geometry of the site with that of the context. Tensions between the clients brief and the distinct approaches to building in context held by the Conservation Officer, Case Officer, Design Review Panel and residents, not to mention the appeal inspectors, made for a challenging process.  In the end issue by issue we resolved peoples concerns and pre-conceptions and consensus was achieved. The approach taken neither copies nor contrasts with the context. The result was worth the wait and we look forward to moving the project more swiftly to construction.

The design creatively wraps the accommodation around views, garden, terrace and parking. By creating a split level plan and flipping the living room to the first floor we have been able to accommodate a generous 2 bedroom house largely hidden behind a garden wall. Only the bronzed copper clad living room and terrace pop discretley above the wall to enjoy views across the flood plain. The house is full of light and spatially dynamic with a double height entrance hall running through the centre of the house, making visual connections between the inside and outside living areas. The house is a technical as well as a spatial challenge and tested the limits of fabric energy efficiency. The result is that it will be just shy of Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5.

The real test for us of any design is; would we love to live in the houses we design? There is no doubt in our minds that this will be the premier pad in town when it is completed.

You might ask why we would spend a little over 6 years persevering with such a small project. A good question. Well we love the site and always believed a scheme could and should be built here. We also knew that the end result would set an important precedent for the approach to design we believe in. Building in existing much loved contexts is always challenging and it is essential that positive precedents are set. We are passionate about designing in context and seek  to proactively pursue locally distinctive character rather than merely preserving the status quo. This is not an easy path but one we believe is essential if our much loved neighbourhoods are to continue to grow and adapt. Quality is always hard won but worth the wait. The final reason is its part of our DNA. As a company we have sought to ensure there is always an element of calculated risk taking in our business plan. We were founded on the basis on an adventure of faith and don’t want to throttle back. For me, my Christian faith hits the road at work, pursuing what we believe matters to us and is often an adventure that takes an element of faith. We have made a conscious choice to press on in this adventure and we are finding that in the end perseverance, in the things you believe in, pays.

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