Archive for the ‘Design Philosophy’ Category

Hancock House submitted to planning

Friday, January 11th, 2019

We have submitted a development for affordable housing on behalf of Footstep Living. The scheme forms part of the Brewery Square development in Dorchester. The design achieves high impact on a relatively low build cost and explores our ‘boring, boring, bang!’ concept. Undulating parapets, facetted facades and stitched brickwork create a highly distinctive yet low cost design.

 

Spending on design fast tracks company growth

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Global business consultants McKinsey recently conducted what they believed to be (at the time of writing) ‘the most extensive and rigorous research undertaken anywhere to study the design actions that leaders can make to unlock business value.’ Its core findings are that investment in good design, regardless of your business sector, increases company performance significantly. These are their key findings:

The McKinsey Design Index highlights four key areas of action companies should take to join the top quartile of design performers where the greatest impact is achieved. These are:

  1. From the top of the organization, adopt an analytical approach to design by measuring and leading your company’s performance in design quality with the same rigor the company devotes to revenues and costs.
  2. Put the user experience front and centre in the company’s culture.
  3. Nurture your top design people (including external consultants) and empower them in cross-functional teams that take collective accountability for improving the user experience.
  4. Iterate, test, and learn rapidly, incorporating user insights from the first idea until long after the final product is launched.

Companies that tackle these four priorities boost their odds of becoming more creative organizations that consistently design great products and services. For companies that fully implement these four principles, ‘the prizes are as rich as doubling their revenue growth and shareholder returns’ over those of their industry counterparts. That would suggest budgeting for comprehensive investment in design is worth every penny.

Companies in the property development industry should consider increasing their expenditure on design by 50%. If one assumes design is roughly 3% of the gross development value of the final product, increasing expenditure on design to 4.5% of GDV could take typical 20% returns to in-excess of 30%. Perhaps someone is courageous enough to give it ago. Give us a ring and we can put this theory to the test.

You can see the full article here:

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-design/our-insights/the-business-value-of-design

 

Winners of the British Construction Industry Awards 2018

Friday, October 12th, 2018

BCI Awards 2018

We are delighted that our Milford-on-sea Beach Huts won the Climate Resilience Project of the Year at the BCI Awards. This is the industries leading award and we feel very privileged to have been part of the winning team. Our thanks go to New Forest District Council who, as client, gave us the opportunity to properly develop the projects full potential. We are also grateful to our collaborators Ramboll and contractors, Knights Brown. It is great to think that this nationally significant project was delivered entirely by a local New Forest team.

With the IPCC recently increasing the urgency of their warnings it is essential that our industry continues to develop innovative solutions to climate resilience. Our hope is that Milford-On-Sea Beach Huts will encourage others commissioning sea defence projects to be similarly innovative.

RIBA Smart Practice Conference 2018

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

We are looking forward to the @RIBA #Smartpractice2018 Conference on 4th October. Paul Bulkeley, Snug’s founding director, will be speaking on Adding Value Where it Matters to the Clients Business Model. 

Designing for Multigenerational Living

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

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…..

 

Championing Quality Construction Information

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

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.

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.

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

The Ring Of Remembrance

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

After ​​two days visiting the battle fields of the Somme, a visit to The Ring Of Remembrance, International WWI Memorial Of Notre-Dame-De-Lorette, is all the more poignant. This is a powerful memorial to the sacrifice of life made in the Great War. The structure is designed by Agence D’architecture Philippe Prost (AAPP) on behalf of the Conseil Regional Nord-Pas-De-Calais and won the RIBA Award for International Excellence in 2016.

For me this was not only a personal journey of discovery, visiting the battlefield where my great grandfather gave his life 100 years ago this month, it was also an opportunity to study the architecture of remembrance. The majority of the monuments we visited where built in the years immediately after the war and all are of their era. Always monumental, and often neo-classical in design. It was therefore interesting to see how my own generation of architects has sought to contribute.

Unlike most war memorials, where one moves around the monument, the names of the dead lining the outer walls, this structure draws you in, the names enclosing, wrapping and immersing you on all sides. It is a dramatic contrast.  Everything external drops away. There is only the visitor and the 600,000+ names that enclose them.

The only relief to this is the dramatic moment when the ring cantilevers out and across a natural drop in the topography. This opens up glimpses of the battlefields beyond in the plains below. This moment leads to my only criticism. It is the entrance. It feels overly pragmatic that the entrance cuts through the sides of the ring, breaking the purity of the enclosure. It would surely have been more powerful to enter from below, from the ground, where the battle was fought. Entering under the ring one could then emerge fully enclosed and at the centre rather than at a specific point, with the inevitable hierarchy that this creates.

None of this diminishes the beauty, simplicity and power of the Ring of Remembrance. These are only the thoughts of an architect seeking to learn and, when the opportunity arises, try to achieve something greater still.

 

 

Great sketch

Friday, April 13th, 2018

We received these two wonderful sketches from site today. We love the power of sketching, what we call ‘thinking on paper’. It is great to see a contractor who is confident to sketch. They may not have intended to create art but we think they are beautiful, as well as practical. Keep #sketching

Prior Approval expertise

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Snug Architects have built up a wealth of experience in the design and delivery of Prior Approval schemes. The conversion of offices to residential use under permitted development rights is delivering much needed new housing and quickly. It is also repurposing mid twentieth century buildings that are no longer viable as offices. This  approach to housing delivery has its challenges and certainly has its critics but there can be no doubt it is injecting new life into city centres at a pace that cannot be matched b y the new build development industry. It is also bringing forward some of the most low cost housing available. This is in part because it is free from the constraints of minimum space standards. The result is viable margins can be maintained at lower sale prices. Well designed this can provide essential entry level housing to the market.

We have either delivered or are in the process of delivering over 300 Prior Approval units across more than 15 developments. Here are images of two of our most recent projects.

Before

After

Before

After

 

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