Architects East London

Architects East London

Architects East London

Architects East London About us

With an extensive portfolio of completed residential projects throughout East London and North East London over more than a decade, we at Scenario Architecture see this part of London as our backyard. Our clients have made us the East London architects of choice: changing East London’s architectural landscape house by house.

East London emerges as an ideal destination for families seeking a community that harmonises historical charm with contemporary vibrancy. We understand the need for a balance between affordability and quality living. East London offers this and much more with an array of housing options that cater to your creative preferences and practical needs. From the cobblestone streets echoing years of history to the melting pot of cultures adorning each borough, East London presents an affordable locale rich in character.

We established Scenario back in 2007 with a vision to develop a uniquely collaborative architecture. We always take a considered approach to our clients’ needs and desires, placing their aspirations for a new, architect-designed space in high definition. The clients’ needs are the main drivers of our design process.

A beautiful, highly functional home is the product of a deep understanding and precise analysis of each client’s unique lifestyle – and that shows in everything we do. Scenario’s tailor-made homes tell the story of each owner – not the architects.

Our landmark project Scenario House, located in Stoke Newington, London, was covered widely by the media and shortlisted for several prestigious architecture awards – including the 2018 RIBA London Awards. It demonstrates our successful approach to domestic architecture projects.

Architects East London Your East London project

If you’re considering a residential architectural project in East London or North East London, we’re here to help, whether it’s a renovation, extension or new-build.

We’ve put together a brief illustrated overview to help you understand each stage of the design process, whether you’re planning a home extension, renovation or new-build in East London or North East London.

Most architecture projects in London require planning permission from the local council. With our successful record securing planning permission on behalf of our clients, we can claim home advantage across all of East and North East London.

To help you understand everything it takes to obtain planning permission in London, we’ve created this helpful guide. Download it below.


Discover if your architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the “planning applications” page of your council’s website and enter the architect’s name in the search criteria.

Architects East London

Architects East London

Scenario is an established architecture practice focusing on contemporary residential design. We take on projects of every scale and scope, from home refurbishment, renovation and expansions to new-builds.

Architects East London Working with Scenario Architecture

Scenario Architecture is a boutique architecture studio focused on high-end residential projects in and around London. We tackle domestic projects of every scale and complexity – from interior alterations and refurbishments to full renovations and new-builds – through our bespoke architecture service.

Our experienced and highly skilled team can take you step-by-step through the challenge of designing your new space. We’ll collaborate closely with you from the initial drawings and planning through tender and construction to the successful completion of your project. On time and on budget.

Scenario Architecture is a RIBA Chartered Practice. We always comply with the strict criteria of the Royal Institute of Chartered Architects, covering insurance, health and safety and quality-management systems.

Early adopters of the latest technology, we use 3D design and visualisation tools as a standard for all projects. Our experience shows that real-time visualisations and virtual reality are efficient tools for choosing finishes, fixtures and fittings, and simulating natural light.

We use 3D building information modelling (BIM) technology to produce reliable construction information, so every piece of data comes from an accurate, coordinated 3D model. Using this cutting-edge technology collaboratively with our consultants and contractors is proven to save our clients time and money.

A Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) case study featuring a Scenario project demonstrates the great benefits of this advanced technology for domestic architecture.

Architects East London

Architects East London In our client's words

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Architects East London Further Reading

Thanks to its proximity to the ancient City of London, you’ll find some of the oldest architecture in the capital across the east end. You’ll also find some of the newest. Large gaps in the architectural fabric – a result of disused industrial land, subdivided gardens and bombing from the Second World War – have encouraged contemporary regeneration. In some places, building and renovation restrictions can be more relaxed, allowing experimental thinking to flourish. Lower prices, traditionally, have also attracted creative business and culture.

All this goes to say that East London can be one of the more exciting places to live today. The great collection of Victorian houses available on the market is ripe for improvement. And brownfield sites between those houses are available for creative development. The RIBA East Awards – sponsored by the Royal Institute of British Architects – are some of the most anticipated in the UK. In fact the RIBA London Award shortlist disproportionately honours East London homes. Our Scenario House, completed in London’s E5 postcode, appeared on the shortlist for the 2018 RIBA London Award. If you are considering building or improving a property in East London, you will have the opportunity to create something truly outstanding.

Hackney, the oldest borough in East London, is filled with three- and four-bedroom family homes with great potential for expansion into side return spaces, disused underground storage holes and lofts. The sprawling borough of Tower Hamlets, encompassing Spitalfields, Victoria Park the Docklands and Canary Wharf, is burgeoning with exciting restaurants and shopping and postindustrial regeneration. Newham began taking huge steps toward gentrification after the Olympic Games in London in 2012. It covers most of the former Olympic Park out to City Airport, and includes large tracts of prewar and postwar housing that can be easily and spectacularly reconfigured.

Living in East London means exposure to a long, storied history. Communities here survived the Blitz, saw the growth of London’s middle class and welcomed millions of newcomers over the ensuing decades. Out on the streets you’ll hear a hundred languages spoken and learn about dozens of exotic foods in the markets and restaurants, from the Bengali communities in Whitechapel to the Afro Caribbean and East Asian communities around Stratford. And you’re never far from some vestige of London’s past, from the Roman artefacts in the Museum of London, Docklands, to the Cable Street Mural in Shadwell, depicting local residents fending off a fascist march in 1936. The small Spitalfields community alone is a living witness to London immigration, starting with the Huguenots, then housing the Jewish diaspora until Asian populations arrived.

This part of London promises to improve as much as, if not more than, any in the coming years.

Architects East London Frequently Asked Questions

    There is no doubt that choosing an architect is a big decision and there’s a huge amount of information to consider. As you may have already experienced, different firms and architectural practices across London tend to differ in terms of the language they use, which aspects they emphasise and in their fees and scope structures. We have compiled an essential guide to choosing an architect, which includes the three most important considerations to have on your list whilst you come to a decision. This guide is based on our fifteen years of experience as a top architectural practice in London and includes our expert recommendations to ensure you make the right choice and select the architect that is best suited to you and your project. Click here to read the full guide.

    Architects East London

    FAQHow should I decide which architect to work with?
    The scenario design process was developed, tested and perfected through over a decade of extensive delivery of residential projects within and around London, some of its key features are listed below:   
    • Scenario based design – We start each and every project with a meticulous analysis of our client’s vision, requirements and aspirations. We do this by asking our clients to imagine their everyday scenarios living in the completed house and describe their desired interaction with it. 
    We then translate the resulting high definition brief into an informative and revealing 3-dimensional simulation, illuminating aspirations, requirements and patterns of habitation. 
    • Uniquely interactive - Our client’s deep involvement in the process does not stop with completion of the brief. Our design meetings are highly interactive, informal and fun. 
    Sitting together in front of a real time 3D model of the proposed design with realistic materials, lighting and textures we push and pull the proposed scheme together to explore its full potential and drag and drop different materials to explore various options. hen we invite our clients to take a virtual reality tour through advanced equipment that is always available in our practice for our clients to explore their projects at different stages of development. 
    • Designed to reflect you – Based purely on your lifestyle, aspirations and requirements and free from externally imposed concepts, metaphors and pre-conceptions, a completely fresh and unique design will gradually emerge and it will tell your story not ours. 
    It will not look like an image cut out of a trendy architecture magazine and not designed to intentionally impress anyone. It will feel familiar, warm and inviting and you will recognise yourself in it because it will be a genuine expression of the unique way in which you and your family wish to interact with it and enjoy it for many years to come.

    Architects East London

    FAQWhat is unique about the Scenario design process?
    Any architectural project comprises three main aspects, Creative design, Technical design and Project Management. A successful architectural project can only be achieved when all three aspects are properly performed and harmoniously integrated by an experienced professional. But can we really except a single person to specialise and shine in all three aspects and furthermore skilfully negotiate and balance the often contradictory challenges these aspects present? The basic assumption underlying the common structure of almost all other architectural practices today is that it is possible and this is precisely what is expected from the lone and often junior Architect that would typically be assigned to run your project start to finish. Scenario works in a completely different and new way, we believe in specialism and teamwork and therefore assign three experienced specialists for each and every project. A project team in Scenario is composed of a Project Director, a Designer and a Technical Designer, seamlessly collaborating to deliver results, which are noticeably superior to anything that a single person, skilful as they may be, could ever produce.

    Architects East London

    FAQWho will be assigned to work on my project?
    A key aspect, absolutely necessary to ensure successful delivery of your project is appointing a suitable and competent professional team. If we work together on your project we would be appointed as your Architects and Lead Consultants and help you to assemble the rest of the professional team. Most projects in and around London will require at least four additional consultants, a Structural Engineer, a Quantity Surveyor for cost control, an Approved Inspector to ensure and certify compliance with building regulations and a Party Wall Surveyor if any work is to be done to a party wall or structure. For some projects, depending on scale, complexity and your specific aspirations it may be recommended/required to use the services of additional consultants. Including but not limited to: Planning, Heritage, Right of Light, Landscape Designer, Audio Visual and Building Services Engineer. When appropriate, we will discuss these options with you and obtain relevant quotes for all additional consultants for you to consider.

    Architects East London

    FAQWhich additional consultants are required for my project?
    Planning in the U.K in general and in Greater London in particular is admittedly a tricky business. It is a complex maze of policies, standards and regulations that requires specialised and up to date knowledge and skills to navigate successfully.  Over the years we developed a strong approach and an effective methodology, allowing us to maintain an outstanding track record stretching over more than a decade. Successfully securing planning permission for our clients across Greater London and the Home Counties.  The key aspects of our approach to planning are listed below: 
    • Collaborative – We start the conversation with planners early and advise most of our clients to seek pre-planning advice prior to submission of a full planning application. Our experience shows that when properly consulted and liaised with, most planning case officers will be receptive to conduct a professional dialogue, increasing chances of successes. 
    • Strategic – We tailor a custom planning strategy for each project based on its circumstances such as planning history, local context and specific challenging elements. We sometimes split applications or introduce minor tweaks to the scheme during the consideration period in conversation with the officers to prevent one contentious element from jeopardising approval of the main scheme.
    • Professional – Our experience shows that the quality and clarity of the submission in terms of background research, planning history of the property and context, precedent and of course the arguments presented to support the case has a tremendous effect on success rate. 

    Architects East London

    FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to planning?
    The standard consideration period for a residential project is eight weeks, this is the official time frame for your local council to carry out consultation with the neighbours and reach a decision.  We recommend allowing for a minimum of ten weeks from submission to decision as in practice the process always takes slightly longer for the following reasons: 
    • The decision period clock only starts ticking once the application is validated by the Council, This requires then to check that the forms are completed correctly and that the submission contains all the necessary drawings, statements and reports.
    Validation can take anything from a few days to couple of weeks when the council is very busy, which is most of the time…
    • Although required by law to provide a decision within the statutory eight weeks period, it is not uncommon for councils to miss the deadline of the consideration period, normally only by a few days, sometimes longer. 
    While there are some effective measures to apply pressure, which we do not hesitate to use when appropriate, it is generally beneficial for the project to bear with the council a little longer. 
    • In some cases the council may ask us as your agent for an extension of time, this may be requested due to internal reasons or as an acceptable result of a professional discussion that we are conducting with them about certain aspects of the application that they are not sure about.

    Architects East London

    FAQHow long will it take to obtain planning permission for my project?
    Once we have an initial scheme designed for your project which you are happy to proceed with, we will advise whether we recommend obtaining pre-planning advice or proceeding directly to the submission of a full planning application. Most of our projects are submitted first to pre-planning when the following applies.
    • Our experience shows that planning officers respond better to projects when they feel consulted and collaborated with. We find that when we truly listen to their often helpful and valid feedback and treat them as consultants for the projects and not representative of an evil enforcing authority, they tend to collaborate well with us and demonstrate increased flexibility.
    • Although the council in theory have eight weeks to consider your application, in practice they are constantly overloaded. They will only look at your application in the last few days of the consideration period. If this is the first time that they come across a scheme that they were never consulted about, our chance to secure permission for you in a single attempt is significantly compromised.
    • The standard practice is for the council to consider the full planning application as submitted and then issue a yes or no decision. Case officers are not required or even encouraged to enter a discussion with us or accept resubmission of minor changes to the proposed scheme during the consideration period.
    In practice our established working relationships and long-standing experience working across Greater London and the Home Counties often enables us to have a meaningful discussion and even introduce minor tweaks to the submitted scheme within the consideration period and prevent the application from being rejected. The chances for this strategy to deliver the desired results increases significantly with projects which were submitted first for a pre-planning advice.

    Architects East London

    FAQWhat is pre-planning and will it be required for my project?
    In the past, it was common practice for local authorities to impose sustainability standards on residential developments. However, the 2015 Deregulation Act removed the obligation on local authorities to require any standard at all, which means the only requirements having fallen back to those of the Building Regulations.  With no clear and improved targets to work towards, in collaboration with Envision (, we have created optional Sustainability ‘Levels’ to offer our clients the chance to drastically improve the sustainability credentials of their home. These ‘Levels’ encompassing Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond, traverse a clear and applicable route from basic compliance with current Building Regulations all the way to the full and rigorous HQM (Home Quality Mark) certification within Level Diamond. As the packages become more elaborate in terms of sustainability, analysis and implemented measures, they provide increasing tangible benefits. Ranging from thermal and acoustic comfort and wellbeing, to reduced carbon foot print, savings on running costs and significant advantages through the planning process.  The more elaborate packages obviously entail higher cost in terms of professional fees as well as impact on the construction cost, although each sustainability ‘Level’ will endeavour to not overly burden the construction budget.

    Architects East London

    FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to sustainability?
    In a nutshell building control is the means by which Local Authorities enforce compliance with current Building Regulations.  In practice there are two main ways to go about obtaining the required advice and certification for your project, via your Local Council’s Building Control Department or via direct appointment of an Approved Inspector who is authorised to carry out the inspection and certification on behalf of any local authority.   The role of either the Council’s Building Control Officer or an Approved Inspector is to verify that your project meets all current Building Regulations. They will review and approve all the drawings, inspect the actual work carried out on site and once the project is completed, issue the final compliance certificate. Due to an open market, healthy competition between local councils and approved inspectors, the process and associated costs are almost identical. Having said that, our experience is that the private inspectors still feel and behave more as your appointed consultants and the council’s service still feels more like a statutory inspection and it is often slower and less responsive.  While it is always good to be informed and understand the process well, as your appointed architects we will take care of this aspect of the project for you and save you considering comparable quotes that we will obtain on your behalf and appointing the selected provider. You can leave this aspect of your project entirely with us.  Building control is required for almost all projects, and for all the projects we ever worked on as only minor renovation works may be exempt.

    Architects East London

    FAQWhat is building control and is it required for my project?
    Currently we recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,000 per square metre for side extensions, rear extensions or front extensions. For basement extensions, which are most expensive way to add space to your home, we recommend that you allow between £3,000 and £3,500 per square metre. When it comes to roof extensions, our experience shows that it is better to allow a lump sum of £40,000-£60,000 for loft conversions with dormer windows and between £80,000 and £120,000 for mansard roof extensions. These ranges are based on averages from numerous actual projects that we have completed in and around London since we established Scenario in 2007. We only use these rough costs per square metre during the early stages of design to maintain awareness of your target budget until a cost professional is appointed and more accurate methods of estimation are employed. The actual cost for your project will depend on many factors, including the complexity of the design, level of structural support required, and selection of fixtures, fittings material finishes. Using these rough ranges as a guide we will work together with you in an interactive process to optimise budget and scope and find the balance that works best for you. The estimated costs per square metre mentioned above are for the build costs only and exclude VAT and professional fees.

    Architects East London

    FAQWhat is the cost of building an extension?
    Currently we recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,000 per square metre for areas which will undergo an extensive renovation. We designate an area of the project as extensive renovation if the planned works includes substantial changes to layouts, significant structural works, re-plumbing, re-wiring and full redecoration. For areas of lighter internal renovation which do not require significant changes to layout or substantial structural works but do require full redecoration, re-plumbing and rewiring, we recommend allowing between £2,000 and £2,500 as an estimated cost per square metre, we designate these areas as requiring medium renovation. If there areas in your project which only call for a light renovation such as re-plastering, and painting, installing new floor finishes and light modifications of electrics and plumbing fittings, we will designate these as areas of light renovation and recommend that you allow £1,500-£2,000 per square metre or even as low as between £1,000-£1,500 if you only have light touches in mind. The real cost for your project will depend on several different variables including the complexity of the design, extent of structural works and level of fixtures, fittings and material finishes. These estimated costs per square metre are for the build cost excluding VAT and professional fees.

    Architects East London

    FAQWhat is the cost of an internal refurbishment?
    If you are thinking about building a new house from scratch for which the term Self Build is often used, we currently recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,500 per square metre for projects in and around London. This may sound like a very wide range initially, perhaps too wide to be useful? As soon as we can establish even a few of the basics of your requirements and aspirations for the project we can safely narrow it down and customise it to match your intentions. The key parameters that will help us to refine initial estimates are whether or not a basement is required to achieve your target floor area, the likely construction method and corresponding structural approach and of course your desired level of fixtures, fittings and material finishes. Another key parameter that we must consider right from the outset is the level of sustainability that we are aiming at, are you satisfied with the base line requirements as defined by current building regulations, or should we aim higher? Working together with sustainability experts we have created our own bespoke set of sustainability packages which allows you to place your sustainability target anywhere you wish. This can range from basic compliance to an extremely sustainable and energy efficient standard which comes with great savings on running costs, future proofing and wellbeing benefits such as improved air quality, thermal comfort, and considerate and healthier surface finishes.

    Architects East London

    FAQWhat is the cost of building a new house?
    The fee structure that we will offer will depend on the type and scale of your project as well as the scope required from us. The vast majority of the projects we take on are what we call ‘full projects’, these are projects for which we will provide full Architectural services from inception to completion, covering the standard scope of services offered by most RIBA Chartered Architects and more. For these full projects our fees will be calculated on the basis of an agreed percentage of the final cost of the building works exclusive of VAT and professional fees. At any given time, we will calculate our fees based on the latest construction cost estimates available until the final cost of the building works has been ascertained. Our fees will be adjusted both forward and retrospectively to reflect any increase in budget and scope of the project, and forward only (due to work already completed) to reflect any decrease in budget/scope. During early stages, our fees will be calculated based on our in-house estimation tool and once available, on estimates by the appointed Quantity Surveyor, followed by actual prices of returned tenders and finally, the contract sum reflecting any changes during construction. Under unusual circumstances we may agree to take on projects only up to a certain stage, for example up to planning, and sometimes from a certain stage if we are taking over from another Architect. For these ‘partial scope projects’ we will normally put forward a simple fixed lump sum proposal.

    Architects East London

    FAQWhat is the fee structure used by Scenario Architecture?

Architects East London Open-Plan Layouts: How To Overcome Fire Safety Problems

For the truly contemporary style of interior design, there is nothing quite like the open-plan layout to meet your needs. Typically, an open-plan home is one that has a lot more space, plenty of natural light, and an easygoing atmosphere. A home with this kind of layout is generally going to feel more connected as a family unit, and it also happens to be a style that is currently trendy, thereby adding considerable value to any property.

However, you might have heard that open-plan layouts can often pose issues relating to fire safety. The last thing you want is for the home to be susceptible to any such problems, of course, so it’s vital that you are overcoming those potential issues from the start. Let’s look at this in detail.

Open-Plan Layouts: Do Building Regulations Apply?

There are many wonderful plus points when it comes to open-plan layouts, some of which we have already listed above. Generally, this kind of design is a very free-flowing and easygoing way to live, and it can be a great way to have free creative reign when you are designing a home too.

But like any other kind of building work, you do need to ensure you are following the building regulations at all times, and there are still plenty of regulations that do apply to open-plan layouts. These regulations are often related to safety issues, with one of the most important being fire safety concerns. It is clearly extremely important to make sure your home is as safe from fire as possible, and following the appropriate regulations is the best way to ensure that.

The main concern when it comes to fire safety is: how will people be able to safely escape, should there be a fire in the home? As it happens, you can fall in line with that need and with the fire safety regulations without having to give up on your open-plan dream.

The Risks of Open-Plan Homes

You might be wondering why open-plan layouts in particular need to be given such attention when it comes to fire safety. The fact is that this kind of design comes with its own inherent risks, just like any design has its own set of risks and flaws. With an open-plan layout, you have large rooms and few dividing walls, if any. This kind of layout redesign rarely requires actual planning permission – but even so, you need to comply with the building regulations, including those all-important fire safety rules.

A common issue with open-plan designs stems from the creation of ‘inner rooms’ – those areas where separate rooms are reached solely by another living area like a communal living room, rather than with a hallway. This poses a risk because if there is a fire in that access space, someone could get trapped in the inner room, as there is no other escape route.

On other occasions, you might find yourself in a position where the windows are too small to be used as escape routes. All of these risks need to be worked around when you are designing an open-plan layout.

Meeting The Regulations

So how can you ensure you are meeting the regulations for fire safety, and ensuring that your open-plan home is not a health risk to its occupants? If you have any of those inner rooms we spoke about above, you have two primary options for ensuring that the access room and escape route is protected by fire suppression systems. The first option is to install a sprinkler system, and the second is to use a modern misting system.

Sprinklers Versus Misting

If you go down the sprinkler route, you will need to bear in mind that the British Standard BS 9251 sprinkler systems were originally designed for industrial applications in large settings, not smaller homes and open-plan areas. They can therefore be something of a challenge to have fitted into a domestic scenario like your own, and that fact might raise the budget of your project considerably.

There is also the fact that such sprinkler systems need to get their water from somewhere – and that means making sure that your water mains supply can deliver the right amount and pressure of water. Often, that requires a further upgrade. Installing a sprinkler system will cost you anywhere between £2,000 and £10,000, depending on the size of the home, not including the cost of any extra mains feeds you might require to make the system work.

If you decide to go down the modern misting system route, you might find that this is a much more affordable route to take. These systems use a fine mist to fight fires that break out in the home, affording an entire replacement and alternative for the sprinkler systems and being one that is much simpler and more straightforward to retrofit to your home.

The misting system is activated by a heat sensor, and is normally wall-mounted and with a swivelling nozzle that will dispel the mist, should that be required. This helps to fight the fire and also keeps the overall temperature down, because mist is being sprayed into the air at the same time. Again, the cost varies depending on the size of your home, but it is generally considerably more affordable than the traditional sprinkler systems.

Is it Safe to Have an Open-Plan Design?

With all of this, you might be wondering whether it is even safe to have an open-plan home. The answer is yes, it can be perfectly safe, as long as you are following all of the relevant building regulations along the way. Pay particular attention to the fire safety regulations, and you should be able to keep your home and your family perfectly safe in any event.

As you are trying to determine which systems to use and how to design your open-plan layout to be safe, it is always best to seek the help and advice of a professional architect. They will be able to ensure your open-plan design meets all regulations, while providing you with a beautiful and contemporary home living space.