Archive for the ‘Itchen River’ Category

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.






Bridge to the Future – Transforming the Itchen Bridge

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015


Itchen Bridge transformation snug architects

We are delighted that our vision for the transformation of the Itchen Bridge has been featured this year’s copy of The Southampton Magazine. The magazine highlights the first class research and development which is taking place in Southampton, referring to the city’s heritage and how future innovations will have a global impact.  Previous editions of the magazine have focussed on the Marine, Environmental and Retail and Leisure Sectors.  Edition 5 of the Southampton Magazine has the theme of “Innovation”.

One of the key features of edition 5 will be on the Master Plan that is currently being prepared for Itchen Riverside.  Snug Architects director, Paul Bulkeley, was interviewed for a feature in the magazine that focuses on our vision for the transformation of the Itchen Bridge. We see this project as a catalyst for the river fronts wider regeneration.

Bridges often form a central ingredient in our perceptions of great waterfront cities, think Sydney Harbour Bridge or even the ‘winking eye’ in Newcastle/Gateshead. Despite being one of the most prominent structures in the city, the Itchen Bridge is far from having icon status. It does however have potential.

Our vision is for the existing structure to be transformed through the addition of a series of lightweight structures that re-position the bridge in peoples consciousness and with it, our perceptions of the city. The project includes three key elements. Foremost is the ‘sky beach’. Expanses of undulating decking cantilever from the sides of the concrete structure, transforming its appearance and creating a public space at the heart of the city. It is intended to be a space akin to the deck of a cruise liner. Our vision  is for a meeting place at the logical junction between the two halves of the city. Elevated high above the river, it will offer the public a place to sunbathe and enjoy the panoramic views over the city and its changing waterfront.

Itchen Bridge sky beach snug architects

Suspended below the deck of the bridge we are proposing a world class restaurant and ‘info box’. This is a space to do business and exhibit. Similar spaces were created at the outset of both Berlin and Cardiff Bay’s transformation.

Itchen bridge restaurant snug architects

This work forms a continuation of our previous thinking and provocation on the Itchen River’s wider potential and we are pleased to see that work is now progressing in earnest on a masterplan for the Itchen Riverside.  We are also interested in hearing from any visionaries with the means to see this project realised. A digital copy of the magazine can be viewed at



Facing up to Rising Sea Levels

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Student Photomontage - Retreat


Snug Projects have recently been working with Civil Engineering and Architecture students at the University of Southampton on developing proposals for that respond to the challenge of urban flooding. The coat line of Britain faces significant challenges from rising sea levels. This is particularly challenging in urban areas. This project required students to explore the challenges the city of Southampton faces from rising sea levels. The project involved two elements – Group research into the issues and urban design implications that led to the development of a group strategy as well as an individual design proposal that demonstrated the application of that strategy in a specific location. Students researched the issues and establish the implications for the city. From this understanding an urban design strategy was developed. This group research and vision then formed the context for individual proposals for a specific site within the wider group strategy.

Many of the schemes were particularly relevant toSouthamptons emerging City Centre Masterplan which the council are due to launch later this summer. This work showed that the city needs to look at a coordinated approach to flood protection that realises the huge potential this engineering problem offers as a catalyst for much wider spatial improvements to the city. The students grasped that dealing purely with the issue of flood protection  was only partially dealing with the issue and that a more complex approach to flood management was required, one that opened up the possibility for a new way of thinking about the cities relationship with the water. That requires bold visions delivered over a prolonged time frame that combine strategies of Retreat, Attack and not just Defend. These were mature observations for undergraduates that challenge the often fragmented and tunnel vision approach of policy makers. Facing up to rising sea levels will also represent a significant opportunity to transform the Itchen River frontage.

Student Photomontage - Attack

Come dine at the Itchen!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Snug proposes a new restaurant that cantilevers off the Itchen Bridge. The project explore our interest in the potential of symbiotic  structures.

The Snug Project

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Snug Projects director Paul Bulkeley and Gavin Hall from Savills co- presented a vision for the Itchen River as a Catalyst for Change at the Business Southampton Working Lunch. The event was attended by business leaders from across the city and was enthusiastically received. There is a growing sense that the time has come for the transformation of the Itchen River. Follow the debate with the Daily Echo or leave your comments below and join us in The Snug Project.

River Itchen hits the tabloids…

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010


Snug projects ongoing campaign to realise the full potential of the city of Southamptons relationship with the Itchen River has taken another step forward. Director Paul Bulkeley has been working with Southampton University Civil Engineering and Architecture students to develop urban design visions for the river. Their work was recently exhibited to Southampton City Councillors and Paul was interviewed for an extensive article in the Daily Echo Saturday Review, published on 30th January 2010. The article featured our revised vision for the council owned Depot site. We hope that this will continue to stimulate ongoing debate.

Speaking at the Radian Annual Design Seminars

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Director Paul Bulkeley was invited to speak at this years Radian Homes Annual Design Seminars at Harbour Lights, Southampton. This years seminar focused on ‘Design as a Catalyst for Development’ . Paul’s presentation, titled ‘Getting people Itchen’, explored the role of designers in the process of change with particular reference to designs power to provoke public engagement in the transformation of public space and initiate development.

Itchen River Vision

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Snug Projects was invited to make a presentation to City Councillors in Southampton exploring the potential of urban rivers and our ideas for the Itchen River as key component in the cities rennaisance. It is our vision that Southampton strengthen its connections and enjoyment of the river.
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